Apart from being $12.8 billion in debt for reasons they possibly don't understand, Fujitsu's FOMA foray has fumbled as DoCoMo announced today that the Feb. 6 released Fujitsu 900i has a software problem that affects nearly 70,000 of the handsets sold so far. (Is that ALL of them?) The handsets, according to DoCoMo may have "difficulties in automatically receiving incoming e-mail under certain circumstances...." for example, when you want to read them, perhaps?
Reuters has just reported that DoCoMo might cut its ties with Hutchinson because of 3 UK's abandonment of i-mode in the UK, although the story quotes DoCoMo denying its making any changes to its relationship with Hutchinson. What is becoming clear, however, is that DoCoMo may be making moves to partner with mm02 Plc as an alternative to 3UK, with DoCoMo president Keichi Tachikawa admitting as much at last week's monthly press conference.
At yesterday's regular press conference, DoCoMo president Keichi Tachikawa managed to confirm most of what we wrote about last week in our viewpoint DoCoMo: New 3G Plans for USA? Most importantly, someone in the U.S. is still obligated to roll out W-CDMA because this was grandfathered into DoCoMo's original contract with AT&T. Tachikawa said yesterday that the phones have already been ordered! We'll have more details on Monday.
If the report is true, what we've been predicting for months is proving correct, with KDDI building up incredible momentum over the last quarter, DoCoMo, despite statements to the contrary has been forced to protect subscriber growth on FOMA. Here it is; the Nikkei has reported that DoCoMo is planning to introduce flat rate data charges "as early as the middle of this year." Because it's Saturday, and because it's the Nikkei, we can't be sure, so we'll have to adopt the wire service caveat of "the paper said, without quoting sources." According to the Nikkei, DoCoMo's flat-rate the packet data charges on FOMA 3G services first and then move this to HSDPA next year.
The Wireless Watch Japan Media Project will co-produce the Mobile Intelligence Tour (MIT) to Tokyo from 12-16 April 2004, promising to be one of this year's premiere events for extracting business intelligence from the Japan mobile market. MIT aims to expose participants to the best and brightest individuals and companies making mobile work in Japan, the world's No. 1 wireless market, and will include highly focussed company briefings, presentations, visitations, end-user demonstrations, access to local experts, and industry-related social events.
The model that many customers have been waiting for, NEC's version of the 900i, are to go on sale on Feb. 22, NEC and DoCoMo said today. Meanwhile, DoCoMo has said it's going to show FOMA off at the 3GSM World Congress 2004 in France next week with a direct link to Japan. Excitement is growing about the 900i series, with informal impressions collected by WWJ, plus hard evidence that we've heard from InfoPLANT indicating that NEC's 900i could be a smash hit.
WWJ has ...so far...refrained from the comment on the AT&T Wireless dealdizmo, the value of which seems to have crept about a billion a day, up to $35b over the last week, according to media speculation. Mmm. The Japanese press has pronounced that DoCoMo has confirmed that it wasnot bidding (and had no intention of getting involved in) any deal about who, what and when was going to suck up the losses and deal with the huge potential with AT&T Wireless Services. Well, we say, ?Quel surprise!" For us, the whole episode was the non-story of the month as regards DoCoMo, because there was no way Keiji Tachikawa was going to put ANY money on the line to prop up AT&T; after the losses DoCoMo got saddled with when its last foreign mobile lebensraum went south. So now AT&T has been Cingulared, it's time for DoCoMo to cash in its chips.
With the latest Telecommunications Carriers Association (TCA) figures in for January, the success of DoCoMo's new 900i series looks like the best hope for the company to overturn four months of KDDI dominance in picking up subscribers. TCA figures for Jan. 31 2004 indicate that KDDI again proved overwhelmingly popular, with the company picking up 500,100 CDMA 2001x subscribers (against a loss of 268,100 CDMAOne subs) against FOMA's 132,600 increase and Vodafone's 11,100 W-CDMA subs.
Providing the rocket doesn't blow up, Mobile Broadcasting Corp. here, and SK Telecom in Korea should start a 70-channel satellite-to-mobile S-Band (2.6GHz) broadcasting service this June. We sort of wrote this company off last year, but Samsung's announcement that it is developing a cell phone for the service has peaked our interest a little.
DoCoMo had a decent 3Q, posting net income of 137.8 billion yen ($1.31 billion) for the three months to Dec. 31, while net income for the nine months this fiscal year hit 494.2 billion yen and sales 3.83 trillion yen, the company said today. But the most remarkable trend, as we've been pointing out recently, is for the world's second biggest cellular operator to lose the ever-toughening subscriber race for Japan's bread-and-butter, but essential PDC subscriber base. Is this really part of the DoCoMo strategy, or are people getting fed up (gasp! shock!) with Ai Kato? But, with an eye to FOMA's future, the company also raised its somewhat cautious subscriber projection for the 3G service 20% to 2.4 million by March 31 this year.
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MobileMonday Tokyo is a leading networking organization supporting Tokyo's mobile industry. We launched in September 2004, with over 70 events to-date, hosting an average 100-200 industry delegates. MobileMonday is an open platform for mobile industry visionaries, developers and industry insiders fostering cooperation and business development through live networking events to share ideas, best practices and trends from global markets. Chapters are active in over 100 cities worldwide and new locations continue to launch monthly. Founded in Helsinki, Finland, in 2000, MobileMonday is organized by a global team of 300+ volunteers and it has become the world's largest mobile community network. Details via MoMo Tokyo website
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