Giant Japanese mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo said yesterday it will begin testing a new service next month that lets customers use their mobile phones as train tickets.

Based on FeliCa smart-card technology developed by Sony, the DoCoMo service will be offered using DoCoMo’s i-mode smart-card handset in the same manner as a Suica train ticket that can be swiped to gain entry onto East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) trains.

DoCoMo plans to launch the service in January 2006. Meanwhile, JR East is considering plans that would enable customers to use their Suica tickets to make online purchases or buy other kinds of tickets in the future.