J@pan Inc presents the Wireless Watch Japan Newsmagazine:


Commentary on the Business of Wireless in Japan

Issue No. 73 (Lite Version)
Wednesday, September 26, 2002

+++ Noteworthy News
--> NTT DoCoMo to Launch Three New M-stage Services
--> New Service to Provide Mobile Access to Interactive TV and
Radio, Plus Simplified Access to Webpages
--> Vodafone says Japan Phone Subsidy Policy Unchanged
--> Cellular Phones May Replace Wallets

+++ Subscriber Statistics, Corrections, Credits, Administrivia


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+++ Noteworthy News
(Long URLs may break across two lines so copy to your browser.)

--> NTT DoCoMo to Launch Three New M-stage Services
Source: NTT DoCoMo PR, Sep. 24

EXTRACT: NTT DoCoMo announced they will enhance DoCoMo's visual video content
distribution service with three new offerings: "M-stage V-Live," "M-stage Visual
Net," and "M-stage Book." [The] services will be available from October 1.
M-stage V-Live is a one-to-many video streaming service that streams both live
and archived video content to PDAs connected to a PHS terminal. M-stage Visual
Net provides a communications platform that enables numerous people to
participate simultaneously in mobile videoconferencing via FOMA video-enabled
phones. The M-stage Book service is designed to transmit digitized books and
articles to PDAs and personal computers that are connected a DoCoMo PHS and FOMA

COMMENTARY: DoCoMo has been working actively if quietly to boost its multimedia
offerings. Ironically, the existing "M-stage" services -- M-stage music and
M-stage visual -- have been primarily available via the old 64-Kbps PHS network,
**not** FOMA (although the new -- and exceedingly expensive -- FOMA PDA can
access M-stage visual). The number of audio track and video clip content
providers for both services appears to be up, and there are now around 4,000
music titles available from about 52 providers and about 80 video channels. On
M-stage audio, copyright protection is provided by a combination of Sony's
MagicGate and IBM's EMMS systems and looks to be pretty ironclad to us. There's
no copyright protection on the video clips because the files can be set to
stream and then evaporate if the content owner so chooses. All in all, DoCoMo
has enjoyed solid, if modest and not-always growing, usage of the services.

The new M-stage V-Live service should be a good boost to the until-now rather
timorous InfoGate PDA portal service; it's also the first embodiment we've seen
of PacketVideo's proprietary MPEG-4 format on DoCoMo (the two first issued a
press release back in spring 2001). The M-stage Visual Net videoconference
system looks to be directed solidly at 3G users and is priced cheap enough for
consumer use. It's a big addition to the FOMA handsets' videoconferencing
capabilities and resolves a long-standing problem in that there was no way for
FOMA owners to "find" each other for video calls. As for M-stage Book: is there
another cellular carrier anywhere trying to provide ebooks for download to PDAs?
We think not...

The most interesting aspect of all the multimedia services provided by Big D is
that it's becoming harder to tell which is a 3G FOMA service, and which is PHS
service; also the mix of which handsets can access which services is also
becoming a complex matrix.

--> New Service to Provide Mobile Access to Interactive TV and Radio,
Plus Simplified Access to Webpages
Source: NTT DoCoMo PR, Sep. 24

EXTRACT: NTT DoCoMo announced that the company will soon launch a new service,
dubbed DQUICK, to enable users to take part in live, interactive programs on
television and radio, and also enable web surfers to input simple numeric codes
in place of URLs for webpages. Starting October 1, the "Interactive Program
Service" will enable users to interactively participate in live quiz shows and
other programs that invite responses from viewers. While enjoying a program on
television or radio, for example, they will be able to use their i-mode mobile
phones to go to the DQUICK site (http://dquick.jp), access the program's special
interactive page and then respond to questions posed by the program.

COMMENTARY: Oh-boy oh-boy oh-boy.... this is a killer app, folks, and we're not
being sarcastic. Japanese TV is replete (redolent?) with game shows, quiz shows,
and panel discussion-type proggys that just beg for audience participation. If
this system makes live, real-time participation an easy, cheap reality, then
Asahi TV, TBS, Fuji TV, et al will be elbowing each other out of the way to get
first crack at launching a program ported to Dquick. An added bonus is that the
system will obtain basic demographic information about the interactive
viewer-participants, including age, gender, and general location, for --
Surprise! Surprise! -- marketing purposes (one-time registration of basic
demographic information will be required before Dquick users can take use the
system). This will be the first time we're aware of that DoCoMo has deployed a
service that specifically includes the gathering of demographic information for
later exploitation by the carrier and, presumably, the broadcaster.

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--> Vodafone says Japan Phone Subsidy Policy Unchanged
Source: Reuters, Sep. 25

EXTRACT: Vodafone Group said on Wednesday the overall level of its phone
subsidies in Japan had not changed, despite monthly fluctuations in the
discounts. One news report had said Vodafone had raised its subsidies from the
previous quarter, citing mobile phone retailer Bell-Park. No one was available
for comment at Bell-Park. Mobile phone subsidies in Japan fluctuate month by
month, but they remain in line with Vodafone's annual budget for incentives,
according to a Japan-based spokesman for Vodafone's majority-owned subsidiary
J-phone. J-Phone has no plans to raise that budget, he added.

COMMENTARY: We dropped by Sun's JavaOne conference in Yokohama yesterday and had
a great time talking shop with many different wireless folks. One topic of
conversation that came up at the Nokia booth was handset subsidization -- and
how Japan has got to be one of the weirdest markets anywhere for the massive
amount of subsidies the carriers pay into the channel here. We think this has
been one major factor (the major factor?) in the appearance of extremely
sophisticated pocket rockets that the carriers then use to compete like mad with
each other. It's also a factor, we think, in the commercialization of advanced
software-related handset features, like 3D graphic-rendering engines, Java
virtual machines, and IR and Bluetooth connectivity.

As an aside, why, we wonder did Nokia have a booth at JavaOne showcasing
numerous GSM handsets? The official answer was, "To source Japanese developer
expertise that we can use overseas." Fair enough. But when we asked about Nokia
plans for a fresh handset offensive into the Japan market (perhaps a GSM/W-CDMA
dual-mode model that could also be flogged in Europe, no?), the answer was a
tight-lipped, "No Comment." Hmmmm... inquiring minds want to know....

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--> Cellular Phones May Replace Wallets
Source: Nikkei AsiaBizTech, Sep. 24

EXTRACT: IYBank Co. Ltd., a unit of retailer Ito Yokado, plans to provide the
"Mobile Cash Card" (tentative name) service by using a cellular phone instead of
a cash card. Mobile Cash Card is a service that enables customers to use an
IYBank ATM with NTT DoCoMo's i-mode mobile phone "504i" series by loading the
cash card data onto the cell phone. Customers push their password after
transmitting the cash card data to an ATM through the infrared communication
function. Then, they can settle their account in the same way as they do with a
conventional cash card.

COMMENTARY: Yikes! Another sure-fire killer app. The 504i-series features
LinkEvolution's DeepCore 3.0 "Beam to Play" Java contents exchange system that
uses the IR port, and that can be extended to support terminal-to-handset
e-commerce transactions. Sure, P2P via IR is decade-old technology and "been
there, done that" for Palm users, but this is one of the first e-com/m-com
usages of IR so far for cellys. IYBank is preparing to start the service in mid-2003,
and the system should allow a single handset to accommodate many cash cards from
different banks (we guess someone's pounding Tokyo pavement to line up the

Note that J-Phone is working on a system that uses 2-d bar codes to achieve
similar e-com/m-com and marketing aims (DoCoMo already uses 2-d barcodes in the
"Club c-mode" Coke vending machine service and to issue monthly bills that can
be paid at convenience store terminals by swiping the reader over the phone's
display), while KDDI is a UIM card-based system that stores credit card and
other e-wallet information; data stored in the card can be exchanged between
shop cash terminals and the cell phone via -- once again -- infrared

+++ Subscriber Statistics, Corrections, Credits, Administrivia

This week's issue is late due to the Japanese holiday on Monday and
our participation in the JavaOne conference in Yokohama. We apologise
for any inconvenience.

Did you know that you're reading the syndicated, lite version of the
Wireless Watch Japan Mail Newsmagazine? :-(

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WWJ video newsmagazine researched, edited and hosted and email
newsletter researched and written by:
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Michael Thuresson (michaelthuresson@hotmail.com)

Email newsletter edited by:
J@pan Inc Editors (editors@japaninc.com)

WWJ video newsmagazine produced and edited by:
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in cooperation with Video-Link.com, helloNetworkAsia
(www.hellonetwork.co.jp) and Stellent (www.stellent.com)



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