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
attracted 2 million users.
... The reason behind the rapid increase in the number of sites offering iMode
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
...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