A Decade of Mobile Communications
Ten years ago, the cell phone was a luxury item used by businessmen. Now just about everybody in Japan has a ‘keitai,’ and the ubiquitous little devices have transformed interpersonal communications. This essay by the inventor of the Personal Handyphone offers a look back over the brief history of the cell phone.
In the past 10 years, the Japanese communication industry has seen enormous change. It has transformed itself from a monopoly to a competitive industry and has seen the establishment of a new wireless industry dominated by NTT Docomo.
Until the mid-’80s, Japanese telecommunications was a monopoly run by the public corporation Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT). Since then, the industry has weathered a number of major turning points, including:
1) The privatization of the telecommunications industry in the mid-’80s
2) The competition between pager, Personal Handyphone and keitai (cell phones) in the mid-’90s
3) The establishment of a successful NTT Docomo business model in the late ’90s
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