iOS 11 Apple Pay NFC Switching in Action

It’s interesting being back in America, somehow I envisioned Apple Pay availability being the same as it is in Tokyo. It’s not, at least not in Salt Lake City. The payment terminal infrastructure is pretty creaky too. Those fancy Flight Holdings Incredist payment terminals would be a welcome sight.

It is fun using the iOS 11 Apple Pay NFC switching feature. My Docomo dCARD/Mastercard ‘just works’ for Apple Pay everywhere. How boring, as it should be. It would be nice if it worked that way for everybody everywhere too.

Docomo dCARD Mastercard is Global NFC

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VISA Japan Shoots Itself in the Foot Refusing Apple Pay

What a difference a year of Apple Pay Japan makes.

I went to the local Docomo shop yesterday to help a friend move his au iPhone 6 to a Docomo iPhone 7. It took about an hour because he had to download au points to his au Wallet Prepaid card before switching the phone number to the Docomo SIM but all in all it was a smooth process.

The real eye-opener for me was that when he signed up for the Docomo dCard Mastercard appeared to be the only option. 2 years ago VISA and Mastercard dCards existed side by side. Not anymore. Docomo has gone all in with Mastercard branding. VISA is still available if you want it but is ‘not recommended’. The reason is Apple Pay.

It’s very simple. Docomo wants dCard to ‘just work’ on Apple Pay and on Docomo branded Android ‘Osaifu Keitai’ without limits both in Japan and abroad. VISA does not allow this. Mastercard does. I guess VISA thinks Docomo is dispensable even though Docomo pioneered feature phone contactless payments.

JCB has already seen healthy subscriber growth since Apple Pay launched in Japan simply because JCB, along with Mastercard is doing a better job taking care of Japanese customers. Instead of taking care of customers VISA seems more interested in playing market politics to sideline FeliCa payment networks in favor of EMV contactless.

Good luck with that.

Gimme The Green Speed

NTT Docomo’s Premium 4G service speed comes in 2 basic versions, the fast one for Android, the slightly slower one for iPhone. As I wrote back in October:

iPhone 8/X can achieve up to 500Mpbs download speeds on Premium 4G with 3CC CA (but only in central Japan for now). It’s the same for story for KDDI and SoftBank. An interesting side note is that the Apple Japan specs page originally published the iPhone 8/X top download speed as 800Mpbs then changed it.

5 months later Docomo has yet to upgrade their Tokyo area 4G network iPhone speed to 500Mpbs. The Docomo Speedtest app always shows Tokyo @ 450Mpbs (purple) with 500Mpbs (green) just a month out. But this Docomo tease has been going on for a few months now, the Green Speed is always just around the corner.

iOS 11.3 beta 5 bumped the Docomo carrier file number to 32.0 so maybe, just maybe the Green Speed finally arrives with iOS 11.3.