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)

Getting Ahead of the 3G Pack

The early days of NTT DoCoMo's pioneering third-generation mobile phone service are proving to be a trial in more than one sense of the word. The 3G WCDMA (wideband CDMA) service, called FOMA, was supposed to offer a dramatic leap in technology and "stress-free communications," as the Japanese operator claimed in an advertisement placed earlier this year. They had promised a state-of-the-art mobile phone service, with dramatically faster transmission speeds and effortless downloading of video and music on the go. Instead, FOMA has been greeted with a barrage of criticism over rep... (more)

Japanese Telcos Differ About Prospects for 2002/3

It was another lively month here in Tokyo. First KDDI, Japan's second largest telecoms group, forecast that group net profits would more than triple to $384 million thanks to restructuring and a boost from its 3G mobile phone service. We've finally returned to the cost levels seen before our merger," said KDDI president Tadashi Onodera, referring to how KDDI was formed by the merger of KDD, IDO, and DDI at the end of 2000. The uptake of its 3G service, which it launched in April, has been strong, with 334,000 subscribers signing up in its first month - more than three times as m... (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)