"Hideki Nomura, executive manager of IMT-2000 Marketing Office, NTT DoCoMo Inc. discussed the company's outline of IMT-2000 services, describing them as "multi-functional i-mode mobile phone services."
"IMT-2000 is a next-generation mobile communications system. NTT DoCoMo is scheduled to start services complying with the system in May 2001.
"IMT-2000 is positioned as an advanced i-mode terminal," Nomura said. He also indicated that the company will focus on data-communication capabilities rather than voice quality.
"Upon the launch of the IMT-2000 service, NTT DoCoMo will market four types of mobile-phone handsets and devices: (1) a basic model -- a compact, lightweight phone equipped with advanced i-mode capabilities; (2) a visual phone equipped with a camera; (3) a music distribution tool with a memory card to be inserted into its body; and (4) a PC-card device for data transmissions.
"The basic model, to be the main handset, is likely to be "priced a bit higher than retail prices of the existing personal digital cellular (PDC) phones," Nomura said. He added that it will be priced in the range of 20,000 yen to 30,000 yen.
"Due to the deployment of a universal subscriber identity module (UIM) card, NTT DoCoMo will need to review its marketing system.
"Charges for voice and data communications, already announced, will be "the same as the current PDCs for voice communications, and a fraction of the current charges for packet communication," Nomura said.
"The featured capability of IMT-2000 -- high-speed packet communications -- is enjoyed by every phone and device with capabilities of offering 64kbps transfers for the upstream direction and 384kbps transfers for downstream, Nomura said.
"We also plan to make a 384kbps service for the downstream direction available for i-mode as well," Nomura said.
"In addition to packet communications, upon the launch of the IMT-2000 service, NTT DoCoMo will start a circuit-switching service to provide 64kbps services upstream and downstream for video phones, as well as a short message service (SMS). SMS enables users to send and receive messages of as many as 160 letters.
"Nomura estimated that it would take one to two years for NTT DoCoMo to offer a high-speed data-communication service, at 2Mbps, after the introduction of the IMT-2000 service.