Wednesday, May 22, 2013

NTT Docomo craftily (?) cripples international contactless payments

This is thus far confirmed for the Galaxy S4 SC-04E but likely applies across the board to their other handsets.

On international models of the GS4, NFC-A secure element is on-board the phone with the antenna in the battery. On the SC-04E, this set up is replaced with a FeliCa secure element for domestic transactions. Therefore the NFC-A element on the SC-04E is included in the SIM card.

What this means is, if you unlock your NTT Docomo Galaxy S4 SC-04E, and attempt to use it with mobile payments overseas, you'll have essentially two options:
  1. pay Docomo data roaming rates
  2. swap sims and reboot every time you want to do a payment.
There is a bit of discussion as to anything "crafty" is going on here. At this point it is unclear if the phone can be loaded with the NFC-A elements onboard. It should also be pointed out that there is an advantage for having the NFC information linked to a SIM card - ease of swapping hardware.


  1. actually this kind of makes sense to me simply because I recently saw the advantages on a trip to Singapore about a month ago. There I use the carrier in one and I requested in NFC capable SIM card for my prepaid service. Next I downloaded their mobile payment app which uses NFC call nick flash in order to make monthly payments for things at convenience stores, MRT, bus services, taxis and so the beauty of this system is whenever my phone dies I can always swap the SIM card into my tablet it also has NFC get into it in while it's a little bit more bulky in awkward looking to tap a phone on to the reader while boarding a bus or the subway, it still didn't get the job done and I don't have to worry about trying to keep a backup card. The other thing to do is once I return back to Japan and swap SIM cards back to DoCoMo on my payment information is there 24 the devices that support Felica.
    this begs the question if Japan will ever support NFC as a standard or will they continue to simply use Sony silica into the foreseeable future?

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