updated 04:15 pm EST, Fri December 23, 2011
Form consortium to coordinate efforts
Japan's three largest wireless carriers are uniting to ensure NFC standards compatibility. NTT DoCoMo, KDDI, and SoftBank are establishing the Japan Mobile NFC Consortium to coordinate the adoption of multiple international standards for NFC technologies used in their mobile devices and services. By doing so, the three hope to be able to offer lower-cost NFC services to both Japanese residents ans international visitors.
As with many standards, NFC represents not one standard, but actually several. There are three communications technologies under the NFC umbrella, NFC-A, NFC-B, and NFC-F. NFC-A and NFC-B are being deployed in North America, Europe and much of the Pacific. NFC-F, sometimes referred to as FeliCa (from Felicity Card), is mainly used in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan.
The three carriers already offer FeliCa-based electronic wallet services. However, they have acknowledged that, outside of Japan, carriers and shops are increasingly adopting the Type A and Type B standards, and it makes sense to support what are becoming the de facto wold-wide standards.
NFC isn't widely adopted outside of Japan and is mostly limited to a handful of Android, BlackBerry, and Nokia phones launched in the past year.