Japan’s biggest mobile operator DoCoMo and the Japanese unit of the world’s biggest soft drinks firm Coca-Cola Co will begin trials in Tokyo this summer to let people pay for drinks from vending machines using their mobile phones.
NTT DoCoMo Inc said on Wednesday it will join with Coca-Cola (Japan) Co Ltd and Itochu Corp to check the commercial feasibility of linking vending machines with i-mode mobile phones.
While the concept is hardly new, having been introduced in the wireless-savvy Nordic countries some time ago, it does represent a potentially important first step to see whether mobile phones or devices can act as secure electronic wallets.
I-mode phones are well-placed for this kind of service however, since they connect to the Internet at a low cost and are easy to use, key reasons why DoCoMo has managed to gather 20 million users for the service in Japan in just two years.
Trading firm Itochu will develop the service and technology, and be involved in market development.
DoCoMo shares rose 1.7 percent to 2.39 million yen in Tokyo and Itochu closed up 4.86 percent at 475, in line with continued gains in the Tokyo stock market, where renewed investor confidence took the benchmark Nikkei 225 index higher by 0.93 percent.
Coca-Cola shares closed at $46.61 in New York on Tuesday, up 3.8 percent to the Dow’s 2.68 percent.