WW-98 -- USA Feedback - A Better Market than Europe for i-mode Success?

Wireless Watch Japan Mail Magazine
Commentary on the Business of Wireless in Japan
Issue No. 98, Tokyo, Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Win a Free Ticket to:

Meguro Gajoen, Tokyo
May 22-23, 2003

Follow Gartner's 2003 recommendations for turning your dormant data into
high-payback business intelligence. You'll learn about:
* How to plan for becoming a Real-Time enterprise and what it means?
* How to use today's knowledge to develop an efficient management infrastructure for
* How to identify and realize the Total Value of Opportunity? (TVO)
* Best practices- who's getting it right? Examples from industry leaders.

Click here for your chance to WIN A FREE TICKET!
View full agenda at: http://www.gartner.co.jp/event/bi_2003/

in this issue

++ Viewpoint: USA Feedback - A Better Market than Europe for i-mode Success?


++ Advertorial (promotion):
>> Access Your Mail Accounts via Your Cell Phone

++ Events (promotion)
>> ICA Special Networking and Round-Table Event

++ Subscriber statistics, corrections, credits, administrivia

J@PAN INC magazine - the journal of business, technology and people in Japan - invites
you to participate in a "WIRELESS IN JAPAN"special ad section scheduled for the July 2003

The July 2003 special ad section will feature the major companies that are actively
responding to this competitive industry. Your company will be interviewed for the ad
section article and will be included in the Directory Listings page, providing a
tremendous opportunity for your company to engage customers, build relationships and
explain your services to a highly targeted audience.

For more information please contact:
Fabien Brogard on 3499-2175 ext: 1709 fabien@japaninc.com


++ Viewpoint: USA Feedback - A Better Market than Europe for i-mode Success?

My sincere thanks to all who replied to the call for comments on the North American mobile

While the quality of the comments was, similar to those on Europe published last week,
excellent, the volume was rather lower. This reflects, perhaps, the overall differences
between the stages of development of the US mobile Internet vs. Europe's; there's a lot
more going on in Europe at later stages of development than in the US/Canada (or maybe WWJ
subscribers in Europe are just more voluble!).

Ironically, despite the mobile Internet being at an earlier stage of development in the
US, North America may prove ultimately to be a more fertile ground for some of the
wireless successes seen in Japan - particularly Java games - than Europe. How so?

Consider that North America, like Japan, constitutes a more or less homogeneous market.
There is one major language (plus, of course two highly significant subgroups: French
speakers at 8 million and Spanish speakers at approx. 35 million as best I can determine
via Google), the geography is unified (Hawaii and Alaska are only tiny markets), and the
vast majority of mobile users use mobile in much the same way.

These same factors have contributed not insignificantly to the mobile Internet successes
of DoCoMo, KDDI, and J-Phone in Japan.

Further, in planning third-party marketing, sales, and distribution via mobile (whether
for digital content or retail goods), the North American population offers the benefit of
a unified and consistent "shopping" mind set; tastes, manners, styles, modes of
purchasing, and other significant characteristics are all very similar and make the mobile
marketer's job a lot easier. Europe, in contrast, offers a hodgepodge of marketing
challenges across multiple languages, markets, geographies, and usage patterns.

Finally, when it comes to mobile gaming (which has been extremely significant for i-mode's
post-January 2001, post-Java success), poking away on a tiny keypad is, I would argue,
culturally much more acceptable in the US than in sophisticated, uberchic Euro capitals.
This is not to say that American mobile users are unsophisticated; rather, it's just more
likely that in the US - like in Japan - your friends won't think you're a hopeless geek if
you pull out a cool Sanyo or Sony Handset and start bashing away on Tetris.

And despite the US's plethora of non-compatible networks standards (see the first comment
below), any well-planned mobile data service should be successful regardless of underlying
transport technology. Unfortunately, roaming - whether for voice or data - will be harder
to achieve in the US (it's a fact in the GSM world), and this will mitigate against
advanced services - including mobile Internet - achieving maturity any time soon.

Without further ado, WWJ presents a compendium of wisdom on North America's mobile
Internet courtesy of fellow WWJ subscribers (see below - after farewell comments). Thanks
to all who responded!


At this stage, we're still firming up plans for hand over to my replacement for the WWJ
weekly 'zine. It would be premature to make any announcements, but it does appear likely
that WWJ will be able to continue bringing you the same great Japan wireless coverage that
you've come to expect. If plans work out, WWJ will continue to serve as your No. 1 source
for insider mobile info and provide in-depth, behind-the-shoji reporting. Check the WWJ or
J@pan Inc site next week for an update!

For me, this is definitely the final WWJ Viewpoint column. I'd like to thank everyone who
has subscribed to, read, commented on, offered feedback on, been interviewed for, and
otherwise supported this media project over the past 97 issues. I've learned a great deal
about the mobile industry in Japan and have had a great time meeting people, interviewing
folks much wiser than me, and thinking about some of the issues.

For me, Japan remains a fascinating mobile market that can teach many salient lessons for
wireless industries elsewhere - despite significant structural peculiarities.

But the single most important factor that the Japan market has got right is precisely the
same that will boost success elsewhere. Namely: in planning any sort of mobile-based
business, forget about technology. Forget about three- (or five-) letter acronyms and
abbreviations, and forget about "Internet."

What really matters - the only thing that matters - is identifying where your customer
needs a product or service and then creating an offering to match. Solve a problem,
deliver some entertainment, or provide a service - and folks will pay. In this regard, the
mobile data market is no different than any other.

Finally, never underestimate the hidden or unseen consequences of technology. Sure, using
the Internet to share data via mobile terminals helps enrich many lives. But remember: the
terminals use silicon chips and other components manufactured at factories that use some
of the worst environmental pollutants around under some of the most lax regulatory regimes
anywhere. Let's think and act on what we know.

And (Hey! It's my last issue... I can prattle on if i want... ;-)) - really FINALLY -
remember the important things in life. Play with a child. Go for a walk with an old-timer.
Call your mom. And above all else don't take yourself or anything too seriously.

Final thanks: to my lovely wife for all her support, to Lawrence Cosh-Ishii for his help,
encouragement, and amazing video expertise, and to my colleagues and friends at J@pan Inc
and everywhere for their professional advice and wisdom.

-- Daniel

PS: Appending commentee's names appeared to be much less controversial than last week for
Euro submissions.

PPS: There will be no WWJ video program this week due to Japan's Golden Week holidays.
We'll be back next Wednesday, May 7.

++ Advertorial (promotion)
Access Your Mail Accounts via Your Cell Phone

"classY Mobile" (pronounced "class Y") lets cell-phone users access private and work
e-mail accounts via Internet-capable mobile phones. classY Mobile also allows users to
respond to messages with the e-mail address of their choice, and to delete unwanted "spam"

** Message from Nelson Fung, creator of classY Mobile:

Thanks to the help from WWJ readers, we have received some valuable feed back. However, I
believe classY Mobile needs much more constructive criticism than what I have received to
date! So gentle readers, please give it a try and tell me what's wrong with it! Wanted
features would be helpful too!

Japan-based users can sign-up for free at: http://classY.jp/


--> Mobile Data Alphabet Soup: Would You Like Some TCP/IP with Your cHTML Delivered via

Some current buzzes that make the US mobile market unique (this is US only, not N.

* The number of operators and the mix of technologies; Seven US operators now have from 8
- 31 million subscribers (several more have over 1 million) on nearly every technology
that exists CDMA, CDMA2000, CDMA2000 1xEV-DO, GSM, GSM/GPRS, iDEN, TDMA, and AMPS, with
EDGE, WCDMA, and CDMA2000 1xEV-DV planned.

* The success of Nextel's Push-to-Talk feature and the race for the other operators to
duplicate it on GSM/GPRS and CDMA networks.

* Cometa, Toshiba, Boingo, T-Mobile and others push for national Wi-Fi and how, when,
where, and if converges or competes with 2.5G and/or 3G?

* The E911 mandate: http://www.fcc.gov/911/enhanced/

* Number portability battle: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/numbport.html

PS: All US GSM networks are 1900 MHZ, so a tri-band phone is still required.

-- Bill Mangino, Mobile-Mind, Inc., Watertown, MA


--> Voice: Great for Talkative North Americans; Data: Great for Shy Japanese

Because basic telephone service in the U.S. is not metered (unlimited local calling for a
fixed fee per month), mobile telephone providers have to offer thousands of minutes per
month in order to attract subscribers. The result of this is significant: people would
just as soon call rather than send text messages, because it's faster, easier and cheaper.
That's a key reason why mail and other text services over cell phones just aren't very
attractive to most consumers.

Also, personally, it seems to me that people in the United States have less trouble
talking to each other than do people in Japan - many teenagers here actually prefer
sending mail to talking, not only because it's cheaper, but because it's easier for them
to say what they want to say.

The origin of cellular usage in United States is from "danger" applications: if your car
breaks down in a scary place, you want to be able to call without having to go to a phone
booth. Therefore the origins are much more practical and logistics-driven, rather than
communication/constant prattling/hand-holding-driven as in Japan. I wrote about this at
length in JIR a year or two ago.

-- Tim Clark, Tokyo, Japan Entrepreneur Report

Hot Telecommunications Jobs from
DaiJob.com's Ambition Consulting team

A foreign-capitalized telecommunication carrier is seeking Sales applicants (Staff level
through to General Manager level), Pre-sales Engineers, Product Development (project
leader), Carrier Relations, Marketing Planners (Analysts/client retention) and China
project (Sales and Pre-sales Engineer) candidates.

* 26 to mid 40's (sales); 26 to mid 30's (Pre-Sales Engineer/Product Development/Area
Sales/Carrier Relations).
* Location(s) - Tokyo (but all of Japan for Area Sales).
* Language Ability - both Japanese and English ability; native/fluent Chinese required for
China-related positions.
* Salaries range from JPY5,000,000 - JPY15,000,000.

For more details, please refer:
(link may break across two lines)

or send your resume through to telecom@daijob.com

--> What You Need to Know ...

... about the North American Mobile market is that we are AWAY behind where you've been,
buster!! But your always-on-the-cutting-edge Sis has bought a celly that does all sorts of
tricks. No pictures, mind you, but I downloaded a "Marvin the Martian" screen for it...

-- Daniel's Big Sister, Calgary


--> Sprint PCS Rocks but GSM/GPRS/WCDMA Don't Roll; Just Don't Tell Sprint You're a
Hard Core User...

Sprint PCS is the only carrier that rolled out its high speed offering networkwide
simultaneously. With all other carriers you have to find out whether where you're
travelling has either CDMA 2000 1x (Verizon Wireless) or GPRS (AT&T, Cingular, T-Mobile).
Most of them don't have most of their markets covered with higher speed data. With my
Sprint PCS service I've had long downloads with speeds of 59 to 84.4 kbps. In a video test
I had a burst of up to 104 kbps.

I subscribed to data when it was unlimited for $10/month. Now it's $15/month. Though
Sprint PCS officially says these prices aren't for devices used as modems (as I am [using
my handset] now) they don't disconnect you. Otherwise, for both Sprint PCS and Verizon
Wireless, for hard core road warriors who'd use their devices as modems all the time,
unlimited data is $100/month. GPRS, we read, will give throughputs of 20-40 kbps. You're
aware that AT&T is rolling out W-CDMA to only 4 major markets (instead of 13) and 6 months
later than initially promised. So those of us who want higher speed data use the CDMA
2000-capable nets.

I think Europe and the US GSM carriers have learned the lesson of using existing spectrum
and infrastructure to bring subscribers higher speed data. So I think the CDMA 2000
carriers had the foresight and have the advantage; they can also carve out unused 1.25 MHz
channels to offer data (Verizon) or wait until EV-DO to offer 1-Mbps average throughput
and simultaneous voice (Sprint PCS). It's be interesting to see how KDDI/AU and Okinawa
Cellular do with their 1xEV-DO 2.1-GHz offerings.

Good luck in Germany!

-- Craig Allen Paul, Lawrence, Kansas
(uses a Sprint PCS Sanyo 6400 as a high-speed modem)


--> Stupid US Pricing Models...

A senior guy from KDDI told [me] last July that it was clear people weren't using the
network to move photos (and that was before the removable memory was added, I think). He
said they stored the photos on the handset and passed the handset around when they were in
a group to show their friends. People will send photos over the wire as soon as they
perceive that it costs them (almost) nothing.

I am doing a Web conference for [an Australian client] tomorrow evening and one of the
points I am making is that, regardless of anything else, when it comes to communication,
it is the economics of use that determines (A) what will be used, and (B) the manner in
which it will be used.

SMS for example, now running at 1 billion per day, didn't take off until the price dropped
to the point where it was cheaper than a voice call. I remember the first time I used SMS
in Ireland - the addressee called immediately to ask why I hadn't called him! SMS is not
much used in the US. Initially there was a compatibility barrier; you couldn't send to
somebody on another operator. That gone, nothing much happened; So you must get the
features right. The reason nothing much has happened [with US data services] is that
because of the stupid pricing model that was brought in here at the beginning all the
operators are now bundling lots of voice minutes into their monthly plans. It's cheaper to
make a voice call than to send an SMS.

[Ironically], that same bundling of voice minutes resulted in rapid growth of the mobile
base in the US. Prior to its widespread use, penetration was at about 35% or less while it
reached 53% last December.

WiFi took off very fast at the beginning because it was free. The number of people willing
to pay for it is actually hard to determine due to the plethora of entities offering it at
the moment (that'll change because you need agreements with multiple providers just to
walk down the street), but I have a hunch that, despite laptops having 802.11b embedded,
the rate of take up has dropped.

-- Donal O'Shea, California

++ Events (promotion)
>> ICA May Special Event - May 20

The ICA is pleased to announce a special networking and business-development roundtable
event on May 20. The event will feature a round-table discussion with three of Tokyo's top
IT & business leaders.

TED MATSUMOTO - President - Qualcomm Japan
ROD TALBOT - President - JDA Software Japan Ltd.
TOSHI IWATA - Vice President - Cybird Co. Ltd.

If you would like to attend please RSVP on our sign-up page at:
by 17:00 Monday May 19, 2003.

Yurakucho Denki Building, Foreign Correspondents' Club
Cost: 3,500 yen (members) 6,000 yen (non-members)


Brand Mythology: results-driven strategies to leverage the brand story
Four Seasons Hotel, Tokyo
Wednesday May 28th 2003

Main issues to be discussed:
- Fusion of the brand and business strategy
- Brand management in crisis and recession
- Delivering global brands in foreign markets
- B2B targeted versus consumer sector branding
- Global and local case studies of failure and success

Online registration is available at:

Subscriber Statistics, Corrections, Credits, Administrivia
4,162 (via japaninc.com and wwj.com) as of Apr. 28, 2002

WWJ Video Newsmagazine host & research:
Daniel Scuka (daniel@wirelesswatchjapan.com)

WWJ Mail Newsletter editor & host:
Daniel Scuka (daniel@wirelesswatchjapan.com)

WWJ Sr. Contributing Editor:
Michael Thuresson (mthuresson@labusinessjournal.com)

WWJ Video Newsmagazine digital media producer:
Lawrence Cosh-Ishii (lcosh-ishii@wirelesswatchjapan.com)


Text copyright (C) 2003 WirelessWatchJapan.com. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole
or in part by any means without written permission is strictly prohibited. WWJ Mail
Magazine is republished by J@pan Inc magazine by special permission.