NTT DoCoMo, the largest cell phone firm in Japan, has just announced that it is going to pay US $76.9 million (9 billion yen) in exchange for a 2% stake in Lawson, Japan’s second biggest convenience store.
The deal is part of NTT DoCoMo’s efforts to increase sales of its new mobile phones which feature credit card functions. Under the deal, owners of the firm’s new mobile phones will be able pay for their purchases using the cell phone’s credit card payment service called Osaifu-Keitai, at about 100 retail outlets of Lawson (by April 30, 2006).
And this is just the start; by March 31 next year, the service will be available to all of Lawson’s 8,300 retail outlets.
NTT DoCoMo currently has 50 million subscribers. However, stronger competition and decreasing phone rates are prompting the firm to look at other sources of revenues and it hopes that this new service is that new pot of gold.