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I picked up the November cell phone catalogs from several carriers the other day, including DoCoMo (for 3G FOMA), KDDI, and Tu-ka, as well as the J-Sky service catalog from J-Phone. You really needn’t look much further than these monthly catalogs if you want a concise, full-color, and neatly packaged window into the marketing plans and keitai sales hopes of the major Japanese carriers. Depending on which handset you have, you can now access data networks at 9.6, 28.8, 64, or 384 Kbps – and many devices can access two networks. Note that 64 Kbps data is available via FOMA (the 3G network) and via PHS (not formally called “2G” but certainly not 3G). Finally, there’s the Mzone WLAN service that operates at hotspots inside the Yamanote line and at a few other locations.
They must spend a bundle of cash to create these, and DoCoMo additionally puts out an English version (usually only quarterly, though).
Big D’s FOMA catalog is the thickest yet, with lots of space dedicated to showing examples of 3G video mail, handset-to-handset videoconferencing, data price discounts, and corporate data usage. You can also get an English translation of specialized FOMA services online, including, for example, their Xwave Type II corporate LAN interconnection service (see here). With Xwave, you can use a dedicated terminal to allow pre-authorized FOMA phones (say, those used by your sales staff) to connect to your LAN. Looks like they are really keen to get corporates to grab FOMA. I wonder if any will?
In KDDI’s catalog, I noticed they’re touting the fact that cdma handsets can now access the network in a number of Shinjuku-area buildings (corporate HQ is in Shinjuku), as well as in Shibuya station on the Hanzomon, JR, and Tokyu line platforms. They’ve also expanded the number of subway stations where you can get connectivity; I didn’t count all the little “handset’ symbols in the diagram, but there must be at least 50 or so stations where your Au handset will work.
The inside cover and first page of J-Phone’s J-Sky catalog shows a full-page spread of a female teen sitting in her ever-so-pink-and-flowery teen girl’s room thumbing on her (pink) Sha-mail handset as she thinks about her boyfriend (“What shall we do for our next date…?” she wonders…). The catalog then goes on to illustrate all the fun things you can do with a guy friend **if** you have a J-Phone handset. Hmmmm…. My keen journalist’s eye doesn’t detect much of a corporate theme here.
The Tu-Ka catalog is pushing multi-color handsets (lime green, sunset orange) from the likes of Toshiba, Kyocera, and others. There are also little graphs on page 40 showing the improved voice quality of the PDC network (which can now handle 28.8-Kbps data, too).
Finally, DoCoMo are now distributing a new catalog called “Mobile Net Life.” They’ve gathered all of their data and multimedia services into one book and present everything as comprehensive service offering. The services include, of course, i-mode, as well as the various M-Stage streaming and download services and PDA-targeted offerings.
Depending on which handset you have, you can now access data networks at 9.6, 28.8, 64, or 384 Kbps – and many devices can access two networks. Note that 64 Kbps data is available via FOMA (the 3G network) and via PHS (not formally called “2G” but certainly not 3G). Finally, there’s the Mzone WLAN service that operates at hotspots inside the Yamanote line and at a few other locations.
All in all, my overall impression is that Japanese carriers – while now at least paying attention to the corporate market – are still firmly focused on the consumer market and on individual usage following the time-honored “one subscriber, one contract, one terminal, one billing plan” model.
One final comment for today: the number of “wan-giri” nuisance calls my wife and I have been getting on our DoCoMo phones seems to be tapering off. Have the bad guys been scared off by all the bad publicity and NTT’s plans to make them pay for placing the calls? Time will tell..
– Daniel Scuka
Some sage advise when entering new turf; Stop, Look and Listen.. it’s also good to secure a local guide. Japan is the cradle of mobile civilization – we have been dedicated to this space since 2001 – trust our archives here offer some useful material.
Domestic activities continue to set the pace, and sharp players are looking at global markets. We have hard-earned industry expertise and trusted network of contacts with access to advanced intell. and potential deal flow. Need a lift.. Ok, buckle-up!