NTT DoCoMo is in talks with Mitsui Sumitomo Card and credit card scheme JCB about investing in their respective businesses, in a move that would see the wireless operator expand further into financial services.
DoCoMo sources told Nihon Keizai newspaper that the firm is looking to pay about Y100 billion for a 33.4% stake in the Sumitomo Mitsui credit card business. The wireless operator, which has 49 million subscribers, is also said to be looking at purchasing a ten per cent stake in JCB.
Mitsui Sumitomo Card is Japan's second-largest credit card company with 12.8 million cardholders. A one-third stake in the business would give DoCoMo a veto at shareholder meetings.
An equity tie-in would give the card company access to DoCoMo's massive subscriber base and could pave the way for further development of mobile payment services. DoCoMo last year launched a 'wallet phone' which allows subscribers to pay for goods and services with their handhelds. DoCoMo hopes the phones will replace cash, credit cards, ID cards and train tickets.
The company has also partnered with JCB to test a service which allows customers to make contactless payments using mobile phones featuring infrared transmission ports.