IPMobile Makes 11th Hour Move

IPMobile announced last week that it has reached an agreement with Hong Kong based Distacom Group. The company is planning to lodge a request with Ministry, ahead of the required November 9 service launch date, to switch from it’s approved TD-CDMA format to the TD-SCDMA system citing improved procurement costs for the latter Chinese standard.

IPMobile Ownership Saga Continues

US telecom firm NextWave Wireless has apparently decided to sell its stake in IP Mobile, only one month after it became the majority shareholder, according to this announcement [.pdf in Japanese]. In July NextWave signed a definitive agreement to aquire 69.23 percent of the company from Mori Trust. IP Mobile was awarded an operating licence in November 2005 and was given two years to launch mobile broadband services.

NextWave Wireless to Aquire IPMobile

NextWave Wireless announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire all shares of IPMobile held by Mori Trust Co., Ltd., of Japan. Upon closing of the transaction, NextWave will hold a 69.2% stake in IPMobile. The agreement is subject to required government approvals. IPMobile has been working with IPWireless towards a commercial launch of a TD-CDMA wireless broadband network by November of this year. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

IPMobile Announces Major Changes

IPMobile announced that its major shareholder, Multimedia Research Institute Corp., has reached an agreement with Mori Trust Co., Ltd. to transfer its stocks, therefore Mori Trust will become IPMobile’s major shareholder. According to the statement, IPMobile will review its capital structure and continue to raise investments required to launch commercial services. IPMobile is currently in talks with Mori Trust Co., Ltd. and will make an announcement about the timing of the launch and the details of its service once an agreement is reached.

eMobile Unveils SmartPhone & Flat-rate Price Plan

eMobile Unveils SmartPhone & Flat-rate Price Plan by Mobikyo KKeMobile announced their debut package offering – complete with terminals, data cards and flat-rate HSDPA price plan – today at a Tokyo press conference with company representatives joined by notable industry partners including Paul Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm, Darren Huston, CEO of Microsoft Japan, and Masafumi Matsumoto, representative director from Sharp. The upstart carrier’s founder, chairman and CEO, Sachio Semmoto (who was co-founder of DDI, which became KDDI), called their newly introduced Sharp EM-One smartphone, “the next-generation mobile broadband device” – which was “designed to deliver always-on broadband at a reasonable monthly flat-rate price.”

The new Sharp terminal is bound to be popular with the same crowd who lined-up to get Willcom’s Zero3 model, also made by Sharp, in late 2005. The EM-One is a touch-screen qwerty-keyboard dual-slider device sporting a 4-inch LCD screen with Japan’s first WVGA (800×480)-resolution screen and Windows Mobile 5.0 (with all the typical office functions). At only 18mm thin, it even comes ready to watch 1Seg digital TV broadcasts and – according to the specs – the unit sports a Marvell PXA270 cpu running at 520MHz with 512MB of Flash memory and 128MB RAM. Perhaps most interesting are the rather agressive price plans, which bundle the device with fixed- and mobile-broadband connection services to attract new customers.

The company also announced four new data cards including a PC Card unit produced by NEC and a USB design coming from Huawei, which will run on the same high-speed network and tabehoudai all-you-can-eat billing model. The new services will be available starting 31 March in five major population areas including Tokyo, Aichi, Osaka and Kyoto. More details after the jump.

Year of the Pig Shaping up as Golden

What’s this?? … mobs of Flying Ketai Pigs..?

Actually, 2007 promises to be far more interesting than even that cheeky title! Here goes our official WWJ Fearless Forecast for 2007 – all in one – huge – breath!

2007 promises to be far more interesting than even that cheeky title! Here goes our official WWJ Fearless Forecast for 2007 – all in one – huge – breath! M-commerce: The carriers? FeliCa-based services will continue to grab serious market share. At the end of 2006, DoCoMo had over 1 mln customers for their DCMX mobile credit-card service alone, not to mention the 18.3 mn regular FeliCa handsets in use as of 31 December. KDDI and SoftBank have FeliCa user bases in the millions as well.. grab a cuppa for after the jump!

Japan's Mobile Year in Review

It was the best of times, it was… well, it really was the best of times! Also, as the famous line from Dickens goes, it was the age of wisdom, the age of foolishness and the season of.. Mobile!

Looking back on 2006, it’s hard to decide which news from Japan’s mobile scene was the most spectacular. Vodafone pulled out, Softbank stood up, mobile number portability struck, a record number of new handsets hit the street and – as December winds down – Motorola and Samsung are shipping first foreign-made 3G units into Japan.

A ‘quick’ look at what caught WWJ’s attention in ’06 after the jump.

IPMobile Tests 42MB Wireless

New market entrant IPMobile, which was granted a carrier license by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in November 2005, will conduct advanced TD-SCDMA field trials in Tokyo later this month. While the company’s commercial launch – expected in early 2007 – will offer a maximum theoretical download speed of 11Mbps, the so-called E-R7 (evolved release 7) promises data-centric downloads as fast as 42.2Mbps.

Motorola and RIM Rolling in – SoftBank a No-Show?

Last week saw an interesting double play for mobile devices in Japan as both NTT DoCoMo and Willcom announced new phones — DoCoMo’s 7-Series — or new PDAs — Sharp’s oddly named W-Zero3[es]. These, combined with the continuing speculation on the this fall’s entry of RIM’s Blackberry email device (will it have Japanese text input capability?), made it a busy week for wireless watchers.

On Tuesday, WWJ was first on the Web with a full report and images of DoCoMo’s new 7-Series, a mix of models from Sharp, Panasonic, NEC and Mitsubishi, as well as from US maker Motorola…