WW-148 -- DoCoMo Introduces New Generation of 3G Handsets With Cool Services

J@pan Inc presents the Wireless Watch Newsletter:


Commentary on Japan's Wireless World

Wireless Watch Newsletter
Issue No. 148
Wednesday October 26, 2005

++ Viewpoint: DoCoMo Introduces New Generation of 3G Handsets
With Cool Services

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++ Viewpoint: DoCoMo Introduces New Generation of 3G Handsets
With Cool Services

NTT DoCoMo announced their new generation of W-CDMA handsets,
the FOMA 902i-series, to be introduced this winter. DoCoMo's
handset partners--NEC, Panasonic, Fujitsu, Sharp, Mitsubishi
and SonyEricsson--have embedded their latest gadgets in
the 902i series.

Sharp's SH902i is a clamshell model with Excel, Word, and PDF
file viewer. Panasonic's model has Bluetooth. Potential buyers of
these high-end phones care about size and weight. According to
a poll by ITmedia, 35% of the respondents favored the SonyEricssion
SO902i. This premini candy-bar-size model is lightweight--just
102 grams. Owners of this phone need not carry a separate
digital camera anymore as the phone has a 3.2 million-pixel
camera built-in.

Four phones can run on the Symbian OS, which allows
multi-tasking. We wonder if DoCoMo will allow downloading and
installing Symbian applications that can be infected by viruses.
DoCoMo has yet to announce a deal with an anti-virus software
maker to make the phones resistant against Symbian viruses.

The 902i-series is enabled with push-to-talk (PTT) that allows
phones to be used as walkie-talkies. PPT calls can be made to
a pre-set of buddies. As long as you hold down the talk button,
there are no interruptions. PPT was introduced successfully by
US-carrier Nextel in the US. DoCoMo charges 5.25 yen for a PPT
call. For 1,000 yen per month, you can talk unlimited to 5 buddies.
Nothing was mentioned by DoCoMo regarding interoperability with
KDDI/au's PTT service that will be introduced next year.

While PPT is popular among construction workers and delivery
drivers in the US, DoCoMo targets lighter users as well.
Natsuno-san, promoted to Vice President of DoCoMo, expects
that after phone calls and mail, PTT will be the third way to
communicate. Although PTT has been introduced by other carriers
worldwide, Nextel is the only carrier that has been successful.
Can DoCoMo repeat Nextel's success?

All models have Sony's Felica RF-chip for mobile wallet services.
New is the Toruca service. Coupons, shop information, and i-Appli
(Java software), downloaded from a Felica reader/writer station,
are stored in the Toruca folder. The Felica platform is gradually
growing, and we expect a breakthrough next year when Japan
Railways enables their Suica wireless debit cards for Felica.

The high-end 902i-series will not come cheap--we expect prices
ranging between 20,000 and 30,000 yen. This price will not prevent
DoCoMo from becoming Japan's largest provider of 3G-services,
because more than 30 million 2G-subscribers still need to migrate
to FOMA.

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Written by Arjen van Blokland; Edited by Burritt Sabin

(C) Copyright 2005 Japan Inc Communications KK. All Rights Reserved.