NTT DoCoMo, Inc. and its eight regional subsidiaries announced today that they will introduce a new billing system that enables users to pay monthly mobile phone bills at convenience stores using a two-dimensional bar code on the screens of their mobile phones.
The service, dubbed "combien?" will be available at two am/pm Japan convenience stores in Tokyo ("Ichiban-cho Honsha Biru" and "Kokusai Akasaka Biru" stores) beginning May 20, 2002. Service will expand to some 1,400 am/pm stores nationwide by early July. It will also be available at several Lawson convenience stores by mid-July and expand to some 700 locations in Tokyo's 23 wards and Nagoya as of September. DoCoMo is also negotiating similar arrangements with other convenience stores.
Since the service eliminates the need for a hard-copy invoice, customers can easily pay their bills whenever they visit a participating convenience store. The service is targeted at i-mode users who pay their bills by invoice.
The bar code is downloaded from a dedicated site linked to the i-mode portal. To prevent double payment, the bar code is valid only on the day when it is downloaded. A dedicated scanner is used to read the two-dimensional bar code, after which the customer pays the bill. The procedure for downloading the bar code is as follows:
1. Go to i Menu site and select "Menu List."
2. Select "DoCoMo Billing Site."
3. Select "combien?"
4. Enter password (for voice mail, not i-mode).
5. Bar code is downloaded and stored in phone until end of day.
Note: The above windows appear in Japanese only.
All i-mode users, including FOMA subscribers, except users of D501i, ER209i and NM502i phone models, can access the service. There is no fee for the service and users merely pay a small transmission charge to download the bar code.