Michiyo Nakamoto

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Top Stories by Michiyo Nakamoto

It has been a busy month here in Tokyo. Early on, KDDI, Japan's second-largest telecoms group, said it aimed to ship 7 million advanced service 3G handsets, thus considerably intensifying competition over advanced third-generation mobile phone services. KDDI said its 3G service, due to launch this month using QUALCOMM's CDMA2000 1x technology, would be available in most major cities. It will start with 70% coverage of the population and expand to 90% by the end of the year. Starting in April, all handsets shipped by KDDI will be 3G-ready and if the carrier achieves its goal of selling 7 million in the first year, users of 3G handsets will comprise more than half of its 12-million CDMA subscriber base. KDDI's aggressive launch of CDMA 1x services has raised expectations that it will take the lead in 3G services. Both NTT DoCoMo and J-Phone, which are using the WCDMA ... (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)

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)

How to Spend $15 Billion on Mobile Telephony Worldwide…and Regret It

DoCoMo, which started the world's first W-CDMA service in October, has pursued a strategy of taking minority investments in overseas carriers to build a family of mobile phone companies throughout the world using the same 3G mobile phone technology. So far, it has not been a resounding financial success. Japan's largest mobile phone company, NTT DoCoMo, will post an extraordinary loss of about $2.5 billion in the first half of this year to reflect a revaluation of its investment in KPN Mobile, the Dutch mobile phone operator. The write-down, which was widely expected, comes just... (more)

Will Video Be the W-CDMA Dark Horse App?

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 handset... (more)