Roam, roam on the (wider) range. DoCoMo is extending international videophone and mobile roaming services for their 3G FOMA system. Starting 27 May, “World Wing” and “World Walker” roaming service users will be able to browse both i-mode and Web sites from China, keep the same i-mode mailing address while in the Middle Kingdom and access existing services for voice and SMS; China Mobile Communications Corp. will provide the local network. Data communications charges start at 50 yen for the first 50 packets and 0.2 yen per packet thereafter.
On the other side of the world in Qatar, international roaming for voice and SMS communications will be available through the Qatar Telecom (Qtel) Q.S.C. network from 30 May.
And finally, 3G FOMA videophone World Call subscribers going to South Korea can put their best face forward over videophone calls with 3G videophone customers of mobile operator KT Freetel. Starting 11 June, communication charges for the new service are set at 44 yen per 10 seconds (up to the user’s monthly limit for international roaming charges).
DoCoMo, which was slow to initiate international service for their i-mode customers, now offers voice roaming in 125 countries/regions, i-mode packet communications roaming in 35 and international videophone communications in five.
Currently, competitor Vodafone’s international call service works in 220 countries. Their “Global Mail for Sha-mail” (photo mail) and “Movie Sha-mail” (video mail) services, however, still have a somewhat limited range with only 13 countries listed on their website, although services are due to expand according to the company.
– Gail Nakada