As shown in Figure 1, each FeliCa contactless IC card contains a CPU and operating system (OS) exclusively developed by Sony. This technology supports high-speed data processing. The cards communicate in the 13.56MHz frequency band, which can also supply power. This frequency carries power to the FeliCa card, which contains no battery, while also supporting data communications at 212kbps. Using this technology, a variety of data can be processed between the reader/writer and the FeliCa card in just one-tenth of a second.
In addition to this high-speed read/write capability, FeliCa also provides excellent security and reliability. These characteristics have led to its adoption for use in railway transit pass systems including Suica, ICOCA and TOICA established by Japan Railways (JR) Group. It is also the basis for the PASMO system used by rail and bus commuters in the Tokyo Metropolitan area. FeliCa-based public transportation payment systems have become an indispensable part of Japan's infrastructure, and other operators are planning to adopt the technology as well. Within the JR Group, Kyushu Railway Company and Hokkaido Railway Company will launch their SUGOCA and Kitaca systems in 2009.
Other applications include micro-payment systems, such as Edy operated by bitWallet, Inc., and Seven-Eleven Japan's nanaco system. Ticketing and e-money services can also be accessed using mobile phone "wallets." Interest in the FeliCa technology has rapidly expanded beyond Japan. Octopus Cards in Hong Kong began to use the technology in 1997, and this technology has since been adopted by public transport operators in many parts of the world, including Singapore, China (Shenzhen), India and Thailand. To date Sony has shipped 605 million FeliCa IC chips in Japan and overseas*.