Suica History

Twitter user Riikun retweets a great blast from the past: Suica cards from the start of the service in 2001 (upper left) running zigzag to today (lower right).

Suica started out as Suica io-card because magnetic io-cards were still heavily used back then. Interoperability with other transit cards, the SF (stored fare) system we know today  and the ‘busy little penguin’ Suica mascot appeared in 2008. The io tag was dropped soon after.

Riikun reminisces, “I remember those old (first generation) Suica commuter passes, you couldn’t charge them. They sucked.”

Things have come a long way.


iOS 11.2.5 and Apple Pay Suica Error Flicker (U)

Update: the latest developments are posted here

The iOS 11.2.5 update has improved iPhone X Apple Pay Suica performance for myself and others but some readers are still seeing full errors similar to what is shown in the video above, or more commonly ‘error flicker’ where the gate flashes a momentary error but immediately clears.

Based on limited feedback I suspect this is affecting iPhone X users with Apple Pay Suica Commuter passes. The commuter pass start point or the end point gate flashes an error and the issue seems limited to JR East gates. Non-JR East gates on an Apple Pay Suica Commuter pass are not flashing errors.

I spent a day getting on and off every station on my commuter run and after many cups of Beck’s Coffee along the way, managed to capture a sysdiagnose file of the error flicker gate issue. I reported it on Apple Bug Reporter #36424202. They are investigating. I am opening up comments in case readers would like to share any Apple Pay Suica issues they are experiencing with iOS 11.2.5(日本語も英語もオーケイ!)

If you comment please include device (iPhone X, iPhone, etc.), Suica type (commuter or regular) and station name (Asagaya, Shimbashi, etc) where gate errors are occurring.

Thank you for reading Ata Distance.


Last Day for Mobile Suica on KDDI au Flip Phones

End of service announcements from KDDI and JR East were made a long time ago but today is the last service Mobile Suica service day for KDDI au 3G Keitai ‘flip phones’. It was a good 11 year run.

KDDI au is pushing holdout 3G users to upgrade to 4G smartphones and be done with CDMA support once and for all. Too bad that the rumored Global FeliCa capable iPhone SE 2 isn’t out yet. SE 2 would be the perfect upgrade for Mobile Suica KDDI au users looking for a small inexpensive replacement device.

Apple Pay Suica Troubleshooting #2


C102 Error
When adding Suica to Apple Pay it does not appear to load completely and hangs during the “adding/activating” process. This can happen when iPhone has a poor network connection. If Suica App is installed it may show a “C102” error.

If Suica does not completely load in 10~15 minutes do the following:

Leave Wallet in that state until 5am Tokyo local time
This allows Mobile Suica Cloud to completely load your Suica information during the 2am~5am maintenance down time.

Then do the following:

  1. Make sure your iPhone has a good network connection
  2. Make sure you are not adding Suica during the Mobile Suica maintenance window: 2am~5am local Tokyo time
  3. Make sure you are logged into Apple ID and the iPhone Region is set to Japan
  4. In Wallet delete the Suica that is not loading.
  5. Tap the plus sign.
  6. Tap Next, and then tap Suica.
  7. The Suica card you deleted should be showing with the balance.
  8. Add the Suica to Wallet

The steps are exactly the same as Suica migration to a new iPhone, all on the same iPhone.