J@pan Inc presents the Wireless Watch Newsletter:
W I R E L E S S W A T C H
Commentary on Japan's Wireless World
Wireless Watch Newsletter
Issue No. 116
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
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@@ Viewpoint: DoCoMo痴 2004 Roadmap ・Action Required!
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@@ Viewpoint: DoCoMo痴 2004 Roadmap ・Action Required!
During a recent press meeting, DoCoMo痴 president Keiji Tachikawa
unveiled portions of his company's roadmap and future expectations
DoCoMo will introduce two new FOMA handsets series per year, a similar
pace as we were used to in the PDC era. The new FOMA handsets will be
released next month -- January 2004.
DoCoMo shares KDDI's reservations about the benefits of analog TV on
handsets. Users watching TV will not communicate using the DoCoMo
network, and thus they will not generate immediate revenue. Plus:
battery life remains a key issue.
After spring 2004, a dual FOMA / IEEE802.11b WiFi (Wireless LAN)-capable
handset will be introduced.
This NEC handset is targeted at business users. The phone will have two
numbers: one for normal voice calls, the other for WiFi. In office
areas with WiFi coverage, the company痴 VoIP network and intranet can be
accessed. The browser of the test handsets was optimized for browsing
Web content. For the commercial models, DoCoMo will add i-mode browser
Since September 2003, the number of FOMA subscribers has been gradually
increasing -- customers are replacing their PDC handsets for FOMA.
Tachikawa expects 2 million FOMA subscribers by the end of March 2004,
and faster growth is anticipated for next year. In 2006 FOMA will
surpass PDC in subscribers.
The second generation phone makers relied on TRON, the embedded OS
developed in Japan.
"For 3G phones, handset manufacturers will have the choice between
Symbian and Linux," Tachikawa tells us.
Fujitsu has already introduced a Symbian handset -- though with limited
Symbian functionality. Microsoft Windows was not an option for DoCoMo,
because of its characteristic lack of openess.
Don稚 write TRON off yet -- when we visited last week痴 TRON EXPO in
Tokyo, DoCoMo presented a TRON platform for FOMA.
Notwithstanding the prosperous forecasts from Tachikawa, we saw a
big surpise last week. For the first time since the introduction of
i-mode in February 1999, the number of i-mode subscribers dropped by
12,000 on a weekly basis.
Not much -- but do we see here the first signs that DoCoMo痴 hegemony
is starting to suffer from KDDI痴 WIN service?
In comparison to the European markets, the Japanese market is far from
saturated. Market share growth is still possible for the carriers. In
order not to lose further momentum to KDDI, DoCoMo has to shorten its
bench-to-market for new services and technologies.
>>KDDI adopts mobile payments technology from Sony
Following the announcements of the KDDI mobile payment pilot (reported
two weeks ago in our Wireless Watch), KDDI surprised the industry by
adopting the mobile contactless chip payment technology developed by Sony.
KDDI will start using Sony痴 technology in Hitachi handsets. This move will
boost the adoption of mobile payments, as both DoCoMo and KDDI will now
introduce the same payment platform in 2004.
Will "Vodafone Japan" follow?
Or will they introduce the technology experimented in the Vodafone group
-- Arjen van Blokland
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Written by Arjen van Blokland; Edited by Roland Kelts
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