Michiyo Nakamoto

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Top Stories by Michiyo Nakamoto

There have been no eye-catching marketing events or even any anecdotal evidence to suggest that NTT DoCoMo's FOMA - the world's first third-generation wideband CDMA service - is yet on its way to becoming a Japanese social phenomenon to rival the once sensational i-mode, DoCoMo's existing mobile Internet service. Having already suffered a barrage of jeers for the delay in rolling out FOMA (Freedom Of Mobile multimedia Access) from May to October, DoCoMo wanted to carefully manage the start of its commercial 3G service with a limited rollout both in terms of the number of handsets available and the service area covered. "It makes sense for DoCoMo to tightly manage the service just to ensure that there aren't any problems in terms of overloading the network," says Kirk Boodry, telecoms analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (DKW) in Tokyo. "Better safe than sorry... (more)

Multimedia Handsets Finally Arrive

NTT DoCoMo, Japan's leading mobile phone operator, plans to start delivering a music service on its wireless PHS (personal handyphone system) network later this month, allowing users to download online music onto their PHS phones. DoCoMo has set up a new company with Matsushita Communications (the world's fourth largest mobile phone manufacturer, best known for its Panasonic brand), Sony, and Itochu Corporation, one of the largest trading companies in Japan. The new company, Trinotes, will develop and distribute content for the mobile music service. DoCoMo will own a 55% stake i... (more)

NTT DoCoMo to Be Listed on the NYSE

NTT DoCoMo has announced plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange in September, launching what is expected to be one of the most heavily traded American Depositary Receipt (ADR) programs by a Japanese company. The listing will increase Japan's dominant mobile phone operator's funding options if it decides to invest further in the U.S. or raise its investment in AT&T Wireless, in which it has a 16% stake and which is set to be spun off from its parent this summer. It will also help DoCoMo raise its profile in the U.S. market, where it plans, with AT&T Wireless, to introduce a m... (more)

DoCoMo Embarks On 3G's Bumpy Ride

In the past year NTT DoCoMo has spent $14.7 billion building up a portfolio of European and U.S. telecom interests, including a 15% stake in KPN Mobile of the Netherlands, which is suffering from high debts incurred through its purchase of 3G licenses. The sharp fall in telecom valuations has raised concerns about DoCoMo's overseas strategy. Many of these investments were purchased at the height of the telecom euphoria, and analysts reckon DoCoMo may now be forced to take hefty write-downs. For example, Makio Inui, telecom analyst at Nikko Salomon Smith Barney in Tokyo, gives ze... (more)

Dateline Japan

One night recently, Masanori Ishii picked up his i-mode phone to read e-mail from his contacts in Houston, only to be told the service was unavailable. "It was the third time that week this had happened to me, so I knew the problem would be solved in a couple of hours," Mr Ishii said. "I can read the same e-mail on my PC, so it's not such a problem even if i-mode fails me." For most users of i-mode, the world's most successful mobile Internet service to date, this lack of access may be just a temporary nuisance. But for the service operator, NTT DoCoMo, Japan's dominant mobile ph... (more)