WW-160 -- New carrier targeting mobile broadband access market with cheap flat rate services

J@pan Inc presents the Wireless Watch Newsletter:

W I R E L E S S W A T C H

Commentary on the Business of Wireless in Japan
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Issue No. 160
Tuesday March 6, 2007
Tokyo

SUBSCRIBERS: 23,930 as of March 6, 2007

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CONTENTS
+ Viewpoint: New carrier targeting mobile broadband access
market with cheap flat rate services

EMOBILE, a new carrier, unfolded its service plans and
terminal line up for the domestic market. The company will
offer flat rate mobile broadband services and voice.
EMOBILE is member of the eAccess Group - an ADSL wholesale
provider. Goldman Sachs and TBS, a Tokyo-based broadcasting
company, are financially backing EMOBILE's market expansion.

Initially, only mobile data services are offered. EMOBILE's
flat rate mobile broadband data services start on March 31
using the 3.5G HSPDA technology. Maximum data speeds are
3.6Mbps downlink and 384kbps uplink.
Network coverage is initially limited to Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka
and Kyoto. Voice services will be launched in March 2008
through a 3G roaming agreement with NTT DoCoMo. EMOBILE
expects to have constructed its own nationwide network by
October 2010.

Pricing is attractive. The flat rate - all you can eat -
data services cost 5,980 yen per month. Nothing has been
mentioned about the pricing of its planned voice services.
Piggybacking the DoCoMo voice network will make it difficult,
however, to offer very cheap voice rates challenging the
incumbent carriers.

EMOBILE will offer NEC's mobile data cards (PCMCIA) for
laptop usage. The card costs 4,980 yen with a 1-year flat
rate data plan.
In co-operation with Sharp, a small mobile terminal (EM-ONE)
has been developed running on Windows Mobile 5.0. The
4.1-inch screen has 800x400 pixels that allows viewing web
sites without horizontal scrolling.
Bluetooth and WiFi (IEEE802.11b/g) are also supported.
It is not clear if the EM-ONE supports voice services once
these are launched by EMOBILE.
Microphone and speakers are built-in, though but to make it
suitable for voice communications, a firmware upgrade might
be necessary. The 250-gram device comes with a QWERTY-keyboard
and is able to receive the one-segment mobile digital
broadcasting. Unfortunately, users have to bring the power
cord wherever they go, as the battery life is limited to
four hours. The EM-ONE costs 39,800 yen with a 2-year flat
rate data plan.

The new service could be a hit for mobile laptop access.
PHS network service provider Willcomm offers flat rate
128kbps data services for 10,000 yen per month. EMOBILE is
undercutting these prices in combination with higher
bandwidth. EMOBILE's current offering is way behind Willcomm
- the terminal is more expensive than Willcomm's ZERO3
device, voice is not supported and coverage is limited.
Better devices, a rapidly expanding network, and deep pockets
will make from EMOBILE not only a challenger but also a
real competitor after 2010.

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STAFF
Written by Arjen van Blokland; edited by the
J@pan Inc staff (editors@japaninc.com)
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