Internet service provider Livedoor is reportedly partnering with PoweredCom to set up some 100 WLAN access points in central Tokyo around the busy Yamanote train line according to a report by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. PoweredCom is the fixed-line service arm of TEPCO, the Tokyo Electric Power Company. Though Tepco dominates PoweredCom with a share of 83.81 percent, other powerful investors include Mitsui and Mitsubishi. The Nikkei reports Livedoor’s investment in this venture is expected to hit 2-3 billion yen. The service, based on IEEE 802.11b and IEEE 802.11g WLAN standards, will be available for a monthly fee.
The WLAN service should boost not only traffic at Livedoor’s sites but also route users to IP telephony services as well. Livedoor promotes Skype IP telephony on its website and will begin selling the Skype Handypone from 28 April for 5,229 yen. As of spring 2004, the Nikkei estimates there were over 5,000 WLAN access points around the country. More details here.