NTT DoCoMo Inc. and its eight regional subsidiaries announced that they will add English language capability to the i-mode® Disaster Message Board service beginning September 1, 2004. DoCoMo set up this electronic bulletin board service in Japanese last January, to be activated in the event of a major calamity such as a high-magnitude earthquake. The bulletin board will enable i-mode subscribers within the disaster area to post messages in order to notify family and friends of their personal safety and whereabouts. The service was launched in order to ensure communication and prevent a degradation in network performance, since an overflow of voice calls and data packet transmissions would likely follow a major disaster.
A trial service in which users can practice using the Disaster Message Board will be held in both Japanese and English. The Japanese service will start on August 23, 2004 and the English service on September 1, 2004. Both trials will begin at 9:00 a.m. on their respective start dates, and will end at 5:00 p.m. on September 30, 2004.
To use the service in the event of a major calamity, i-mode users in the disaster area would first click on the “Disaster Message Board” link on DoCoMo’s “iMenu” i-mode official portal site in order to access the Disaster Message Board main page. Next, they would select “Registration,” and input a message following the instructions given on the page. A user may register up to 10 messages (maximum 100 Japanese or 200 alphanumeric characters), each to be saved for up to 72 hours.
Someone wishing to check for a message left by a person in the disaster area would then connect to the iMenu site, select “Confirmation” from the Disaster Message Board, and input that person’s cell phone number to display any registered messages. Messages may also be checked via PHS or PC by visiting http://dengon.docomo.ne.jp/top.cgi.
Because the Disaster Message Board service is intended to be available only during catastrophes, DoCoMo would terminate service after a prescribed period of time, to be announced in advance via the iMenu site.
Please see the attachment for information about how to navigate through this service.
About NTT DoCoMo
NTT DoCoMo is the world’s leading mobile communications company, serving more than 48 million customers. The company offers a wide variety of leading-edge mobile multimedia services, including i-mode®, which provides e-mail and internet access to over 42 million subscribers as the world’s most popular mobile internet service, and FOMA®, launched in 2001 as the world’s first 3G mobile service based on W-CDMA. In addition to wholly owned subsidiaries in Europe and North America, the company is expanding its global reach through strategic alliances with mobile and multimedia service providers in Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America. NTT DoCoMo is listed on the Tokyo (9437), London (NDCM), and New York (DCM) stock exchanges.