NTT DoCoMo Inc. is in final talks to buy a 10 percent stake in South Korea's KTF Co. Ltd. for as much as $500 million as Japan's top mobile carrier seeks new avenues of growth, industry sources said on Tuesday. The deal between DoCoMo and South Korea's second-ranked mobile operator could be announced as early as this week, the sources told Reuters.
Thumbplay has secured $7.5 million in second-round funding led by SoftBank Capital technology Fund III and SoftBank Capital New York. Earlier this year, Thumbplay announced the launch of an online mobile entertainment portal - ThumbPlay.com. Thumbplay said the portal works with most major carriers and offers customers a faster, easier way to order applications, ringtones, images, games and other content directly to their cell phones.
Sir John Bond, who becomes Vodafone's chairman in July, should review its global strategy. The mobile operator is in investors' bad books, with its shares trading at a steep discount to the sum of its parts. But a change of strategy -- if cleverly executed -- could replace the discount with a premium. The solution is to sell Vodafone's Japanese and US businesses. Not that it will be easy to exit them well.
KDDI/au has announced the roll-out of their A1405PT, made by Pantech & Curitel, will begin today in the Hokkaido region and throughout all areas of Japan over the weekend. The phone was jointly developed with KDDI and marks the first entry of a Korean maker's handset into the Japanese market. Touted, at 98 grams, as the 'lightest 3G handset' available in the market, it comes with a limited set of features (only a VGA camera, for example), but it does have an organic EL "Stream S
Japan's Matsushita Electric will end production of current generation mobile phones for overseas markets, cut more than 1,000 related jobs and focus on developing 3G phones, company sources said. The world's top electronics maker, known for its Panasonic brand, will close a factory in the Philippines and a development facility in the United States as part of its plan to refocus its resources on phones for next-generation networks, they said. Matsushita said it planned to hold a news conference today in Tokyo. Yoshiaki Kushiki, president of Panasonic Mobile Communications, will attend.
The U.S. called on Japan to increase regulatory transparency in the telecommunications and information technology sectors on Wednesday as it delivered its annual set of government reform recommendations. The proposals were presented by Wendy Cutler, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for Japan, Korea, and APEC Affairs to Japanese government officials as a bilateral meeting began in Seattle, Wash. They were made under the U.S.-Japan Regulatory Reform and Competition Policy Initiative, which was started in 2001 to promote economic ties between the two countries.
Openwave Systems announced that NEC Corp. is integrating Openwave Location Manager into NEC's Network Assisted Location Information Solutions. Vodafone K.K. in Japan is the first customer to select the combined solution. Openwave and NEC's location solution is in compliance with the pre-standard Secure User Plane Location (SUPL) standard currently under consideration by the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA). The solution integrates Openwave Location Manager's Gateway Mobile Location Center (GMLC) with NEC's SUPL positioning server to provide a high-accuracy, Assisted GPS (A-GPS) offering that enables location-based services for both the consumer and enterprise markets. The combined solution also incorporates an access management feature to protect subscriber privacy at both the mobile handset and application levels.
In one of the biggest moves yet to push new mobile TV services to a global audience, Vodafone Group PLC will begin this month to offer a mix of world TV brands, European sports coverage and entertainment programs across its international markets. Under its new global mobile TV channel offering, Vodafone will provide popular programs that are easy to view on small mobile phone screens, the operator said Tuesday.
Note: This story appears to be based on Vodafone Group's 6 December press release. Big V's new mobile TV service is, we think, not unrelated to an earlier media service & technology rolled out a year ago and quietly test-marketed in Japan. WWJ hopes to bring you a detailed report shortly once we get confirmation from the carrier. -- Ed.
Shock at the brutal murders of two 7-year-old girls in the space of just over a week is pushing Japan to consider everything from bus services to high-tech gadgets to keep small children safe between home and school. High-tech gadgets are an increasingly common way of trying to protect kids unobtrusively. Concerned parents often provide their offspring with mobile phones that incorporate global positioning systems (GPS) for tracking their movements.
CIAJ's Research and Statistics Committee has compiled its annual mid-term demand forecast. A slowdown in new subscribers pulled the growth rate of cellular handsets down, a break in capital investments by fixed telecommunication carriers decreased demand for modems and central office switching systems, and the transition to multipurpose equipment had a negative impact on facsimiles for business-use. On the other hand, continued healthy growth was seen for business and personal multipurpose equipment, optic communication equipment and routers. Strong interest in security and contingency planning for disasters pushed demand up for fixed communication equipment and other consumer equipment, migration of public PHS users to new carriers, and PHS subscriber growth due to new services contributed to the CIAJ forecast of flat overall growth at 4,138.5 billion yen (negative growth of 0.4% over the previous year) for FY2005. The midterm outlook for the telecommunication equipment market from m
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