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Tue, Oct 28, 2003 - Page 12 News List

Sony enters joint `smart card' link


Sony Corp and Japan's top mobile carrier, NTT DoCoMo, said yesterday they will set up a joint venture to link cellphones with "smart card" technology.

The venture, called FeliCa Networks, will develop a new chip to integrate mobile phones with the card technology developed by Sony, which are now used in train passes and electronic wallets and total 38 million so far worldwide.

The smart cards, which have an integrated-circuit chip embedded in them, can communicate with special equipment that allows card-owners to pass through gates at train stations or make payments for store purchases at the cash register.

By using the technology in cellphones, people will be able to flash their cellphones across ticket gates or at cash registers in the same way, without the hassle of coins.

Electronics and entertainment giant Sony will invest 60 percent in the US$55 million joint venture, and NTT DoCoMo will invest 40 percent.

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