Japan’s Telecommunications Carriers Association (TCA) has just announced that November’s growth in mobile phone subscribers was the lowest since records started in 1996. According to the TCA’s figures, the net increase in subs (minus cancellations) was 332,900. Again, KDDI took the lion’s share: KDDI took 239,000 or SEVENTY PERCENT of the total! Remember, in October, for the first time ever, KDDI took 50 percent. Merry Christmas to KDDI!
Well, that’s two more in the bag. Excitement is building here about what DoCoMo has up its sleeves for the next FOMA rollout. I was relaxing reading a newspaper in my favorite coffee shop in Tameike-Sanno this week and what should I overhear…. Sharp and Panasonic are the latest cellphone makers to complete development of handsets for DoCoMo’s 900i Foma series. NTT DoCoMo is keeping pretty quiet on the phone’s features right now but, if you’re keeping track, you can add the SH900i and P900i to the D900i from Mitsubishi Electric as part of the new Foma line-up due in the first few months of 2004.
What’s up with all the analysis of Vodafone recently? The slow uptake of its W-CDMA service and failure to keep up with Au/ KDDI’s cdma1x/WIN service in terms of new subscribers has some press and analysts questioning the carrier’s strategy. But let’s look at the larger picture: Vodafone had 93,200 subscribers at the end of November — its first year of 3G service. That’s hardly a “ringing” endorsement of VGS (Vodafone Global Standard.) On the other hand, it’s not bad at all for a service which has not had the benefit of a high-profile promotional campaign. In fact, Vodafone has only put out a few low-key displays at official shops. In contrast, NTT DoCoMo had 142,400 subscribers at the same point in the life of FOMA and it had been promoting FOMA every chance it could. Now it has decent handsets at bargain prices and a network that it claims covers 99.6 percent of Japan’s population, DoCoMo is adding about 300,000 subscribers per month. So let’s not forget that it’s really still very early days for Vodafone.
Chip design company SyChip Inc. is testing software for its SDIO (secure digital I/O) WLAN card so it can be used to add Wi-Fi capability to smart phones. With the card and the software, smart phones can use a WLAN to transmit data and double as a cordless VoIP when linked to a corporate IP telephony service, said Navi Miglani, SyChip’s director of marketing.
Japan is famous for cool camera-phones and its massive vending machine industry, put them together and you’ve got a significant business opportunity. We visited Pinchange Co. Ltd, and got a step-by-step demo. of their lean, mean Print Club Sticker making vending machine. Spun out of Panasonic’s Central Research Institute in 2001, the company is making a digital photo printing unit thats sure to follow in the foot steps of digital cameras – on phones or otherwise – around the world. By allowing users to input their photos from almost any type of memory card or even straight from the handset IR Port, we think they’ve tapped into a global goldmine. But thats not all we saw, they also gave us a sneak preview at a prototype LED virtual keyboard for mobile devices set to hit the streets here in 2004.
Full Program Run-time 13:49
NTT DoCoMo said on Thursday it expected the number of users of its high-speed 3G mobile phones to grow more than 15-fold to 25 million by 2006, helped by improved handsets and wider coverage. The two-year old service has just past the 1.6 million subscriber mark and now looks primed for huge growth in 2004.
Looking to cement its current lead in the China cellphone market, Motorola said Monday that it is considering tie-ups with Chinese firms to develop 3G handsets that use China’s TD-SCDMA standard. In a telephone interview with Reuters, Motorola’s director of global strategy on 3G, Bob Schukai said that if China does adopt the domestically-developed TD-SCDMA, Motorola’s best business plan would be working through local partnership deals to draw on local expertise.
NTT DoCoMo, Inc. announced today that beginning December 6, 2003, the service area for DoCoMo’s FOMA 3G mobile phones will cover 99.4% of the population in the Kanto-Koshinetsu region. Its eight regional subsidiaries will also expand FOMA service to an area encompassing approximately 98% of the nationwide population by the end of December. DoCoMo will continue to enlarge its FOMA service area, targeting 99% coverage of Japan’s population by the end of March 2004.
Just got news out from DoCoMo today that Big D has developed its first WLAN FOMA module. Details are sketchy at the moment, with official information we could find limited to a single statement in Japanese. However, the IEEE802.11b compatible clamshell weighs 123g and is 103 mm long by 53 mm wide. DoCoMo has yet to release other specs, or say when the phone is going to be on the market, but a big move for WLAN-FOMA has been on the cards ever since Big D announced it was trailing a FOMA-WLAN network at Japan’s gateway to the world- Narita Airport, with Japan Airlines this June. Meanwhile FOMA added a record 334,000 subscribers in October, underpinning the impression that 3G is finally flying. Could the next batch of FOMA cellies, out in February 04 have WLAN? The news comes on top of a recent report on DoCoMo by CSFB’s Mark Berman appropriately titled 2004: The Year of 3G, predicting FOMA subscriber growth surging to a million a month…
NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s top mobile operator, aims to offer 3G handsets that run on the Linux-based operating system as early as the second half of 2004, according to a source close to the firm. NEC Corp, one of the core handset suppliers for DoCoMo, said it aimed to offer Linux-based handsets by the end of 2004.