“The penetration rate of credit-card payment is extremely low in Japan compared with other industrialized countries. However, if the convenience of ‘Osaifu-Keitai’ [the operator’s mobile wallet service] can be enhanced with a credit function, the market could very well grow to a scale of many trillions of yen centering on the micropayment market. I firmly believe that the expansion of new businesses in the potentially explosive credit market will not only spur the evolution of the mobile phone into the lifestyle infrastructure that our company envisions but also provide a key to supporting sustained growth.” — Masao Nakamura, President and Chief Executive Officer, NTT DoCoMo.
The Japanese operator’s annual report, entitled ‘The Mobile Phone as the Key to Daily Life’, makes fascinating reading. It discusses DoCoMo’s immediate challenges of number portability, increasing competition from new entrants and efforts to reduce marketing expenditure. However, it also addresses the long-term future of Japan’s mobile market and the role DoCoMo sees for itself as a provider of banking, multimedia and communication services.
I’ve long held the belief the next generational leap in mobile technology will be the integration of services with the physical environment: point-of-sale payments, interactive advertising boards, ticketing, identity and home automation. DoCoMo has been one of the most progressive operators in this area and is making substantial investments to enable these services. It has bought into credit card providers and is subsidising the rollout of contactless IC card technology throughout its handset portfolio.
Read the full document here.