SK Telecom is to partner with Japanese wireless operators KDDI and Softbank Mobile to introduce a cross-border mobile payments service spanning Korea and Japan.
The three companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a new type of integrated mobile card and coupon solution based on Near Field Communication (NFC) technologies to allow interoperability in both countries.
So far in Korea, a financial USIM called Combi Card is the most widely used mobile payment option available over 3.28 million handsets. In Japan, finance-enabled handsets come with a pre-embedded FeliCa card developed by Sony.
The commercial launch of NFC-compatible handsets is expected late this year, and users will need to upgrade their phones to enjoy the cross-border experience.
Hong Sung Chul, EVP and head of service division of SK Telecom says: "It is encouraging that mobile carriers of Korea and Japan have joined hands to promote mobile payment business. We hope this cooperation can become a strong springboard for boosting the overseas growth of SK Telecom's comprehensive mobile payment service, T smart Pay, starting with the Japan market."
In Europe, meanwhile, mobile commerce and payments remain a minority pursuit. New research from Forrester among 14,000 European online adults finds that a mere two percent of respondents reported purchasing products from their mobile phone and only five percent are actually interested in doing so.