The Streaming Media Japan 2002 show was held last month, and we dutifully trooped over to cover the excitement, certain in our belief that mobile players would be out in force. There wasn’t a single carrier there — nada, zilch — much less any of the big-name content players. Isn’t Japan’s 3G future supposed to be all about streaming content delivered via thin air? Guess not..?!?
We think that the market heavyweight, NTT DoCoMo, gets a better payback by spreading Java far and wide (at a low marginal cost), while eschewing pricey gadgets and add-ons (or making the consumer pay for same when desired; we note that DoCoMo’s SH251i is selling for 5,000 yen more than J-Phone’s high-end Sharp Sha-mail handset).
There’s a whole donburi full of WLAN projects in the works right now, including efforts by NTT DoCoMo, NTT Communications, Yahoo BB, Speednet, and others. All are following the famous “hotspot” model, and are angling tie-ups with your Macdonalds, your Mos Burgers, and your coffee shops. But we found a new entrant with a contrarian approach. Forget all the relatively immobile burger eaters and coffee drinkers; MIS provides fat pipes to surfers who are actually walking down the street.
Neale contacted DoCoMo IR, who helped clarify where the 9 percent lives in DoCoMo accounts. In the English version of the Consolidated Financial Statements (8 May 2002), under “(2) Consolidated Statements of Income” (page 16), there’s a section titled, “Operating income from other businesses.” This includes the 9 percent (Aha!!), and amounted to 45,272 million yen in FY2002.
World Cup soccer has kept Japan at a fever pitch for the past couple of months, and we decided to drop by the sports cafe set up by superstar player Hidetoshi Nakata in downtown Tokyo to catch some of the action. J-Phone were there too, illustrating the key role that celebrity sponsorship has played in the sales and marketing of handsets in Japan, without which the mobile Internet would be a much duller space.
WiredPocket is a US-based mobile software startup focusing on the enterprise space. That’s fine for over there, but it’s just a tiny slice of the primarily consumer market over here.
So why in heck would WP open a Japan office.. have they really got a chance?
Takaharu Mita is just a regular guy with a DoCoMo 3G videophone — but like many early-adopters, he’s got no one with whom to hold video calls. In March, he posted his number on his “FOMA Diary” Web site and invited the world to call — anytime. Well, the world responded, and Mita-san has got a lot to say about videophones, Big D, and how society’s gonna change…
Japan’s Omron has tied up with America’s Cellport to commercialize telematics technology that will allow onboard sensors to report maintenance, operation, and other data to a central server using a keitai. We take a look at a Cellphone-enabled Jeep parked in downtown Tokyo and speak with the CEO of Omron Cellport Telematics Inc. to find out when we’ll be able to buy a Lexus that’ll transmit low engine oil problems straight to the garage (Not that soon..)
This week, we finish up our Killer Interview Series and find out how NTT DoCoMo is handling spam, a serious quality-of-service issue. Why don’t the other carriers have similar spam problems? Maybe they’re just not telling…
PLUS, We finally present you the results from our Survey taken in March.
In the first part of our Killer Interview Series with one of Tokyo’s contrarian telecoms analysts, we find out what happens to data ARPU when price-insensitive, heavy-volume users migrate to new services (like Java). The answer? It’s not a pretty sight, and the same may be in store for 3G. Plus, we cover ARPU stats, compare FOMA data usage to 2G, and reveal what generates the most packet traffic (think “self-generated content”).