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Internet-Capable Mobile Phones in Japan, Support Games, Music, E-Commerce
Posted: 29-Nov-1999 [Source: Nikkei BP]

[So-called "keitai" mobile phones with Internet-access functions appear to be emerging as the most suitable terminals for e-commerce services in Japan ... The service that has really done the most to prove that portable phone Internet services can be successful is NTT DoCoMo's iMode. In less than eight months, has attracted 2 million users ... in the spring of 2001, NTT DoCoMo is scheduled to launch its next-generation service for mobile communications conforming to the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) standard. When the service begins it will offer a maximum speed of 384kbps, making the transmission of video images a real possibility. ]

TOKYO -- So-called "keitai" mobile phones with Internet-access functions appear to be emerging as the most suitable terminals for e-commerce services in Japan.

... The service that has really done the most to prove that portable phone Internet services can be successful is NTT DoCoMo's iMode. In less than eight months, has attracted 2 million users.

... The reason behind the rapid increase in the number of sites offering iMode data content is that the number of users has exploded. As of early October, between 13,000 and 18,000 new subscribers were being attracted to the service per day.

According to NTT DoCoMo, if things keep going as they are now, iMode will have 4 million users by the end of its first year of operation. That would be far in excess of the original 3 million target at the time of the service's launch.

With all these new users, many content providers are trying innovative services. Among these are some that are likely to form a core trend -- services for distributing audio and image data.

Already a service is available that allows users to download electronic sound alerts in melodies, which play whenever they receive a phone call. Another popular service is one that sends users an image of a different cartoon character every day.

If these types of services continue to evolve, then it will soon become possible for music and game software to be sent over the same networks. The keitai phones are likely to become general-purpose terminals that can be used for all kinds of e-commerce applications.

...in the spring of 2001, NTT DoCoMo is scheduled to launch its next-generation service for mobile communications conforming to the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) standard. When the service begins it will offer a maximum speed of 384kbps, making the transmission of video images a real possibility.

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