I visited Japan few days back, thanks to fully paid trip by Tata Docomo in their 3G life contest. It was a revelation to say the least on different ways mobile and 3G is currently being used in a country like Japan.
From buying candies at Vending machines to traveling in subway, Mobile is used everywhere, most of which is possible due to fast unparalleled 3G connections.
Just to give you an example of what I am talking about – Have a look at this short video on how I bought a burger at McDonalds outlet in Tokyo. From getting coupons on mobile phone to making payments everything happened seamlessly.
Buying Burger at McDonalds
Here is what I did – Placed my order, attendant punched in the amount and I placed my mobile phone on the reader which was connected with McDonalds billing system. The payment was made!!!
Everything in less than 15 seconds.
Here is another example – We wanted to travel from Shinjuku to Akhiabara (A place to buy Electronic gadgets in Tokyo) via subway. We just took our mobile phones, flashed it on the reader at entry point and exit points of the subway stations. The train fare was calculated (depending on entry and exit points ) automatically and deducted from our Mobile Money (or Mobile Wallet or Mobile credit card..whatever you call it). It was absolutely seamless!
Using Subway Using Mobile Wallet
Now, I am sure you will be having a question in your mind as to whether we will see such a system in India ever. Yes, it is very much possible, especially now that we have 3G in our midst. Having said that, it is not very easy.
NTT Docomo is one of the foremost telecom services provider in Japan, and have made large investments in bringing up infrastructure on which these services reside. Infact, in Japan we may possibly see plastic credit cards give way to Mobile cards (NTT Docomo has its own Mobile Credit card, which works just like your normal visa card).
One thing for sure, Indian Telecom Operators need to look beyond Voice calls, SMSes and trivial value added services and built infrastructure (offline as well as on mobile) for services like contactless Mobile payments and Mobile Credit Cards. Tata, thanks to their partnership with NTT Docomo are probably much better placed than other providers to bring these services in India.
What do you think? How soon will see these kind of services in India?