RealTime IT News

Fujitsu Creates Japan's Largest ISP

On Monday, Nov. 1, Fujitsu formally merged its 650,000-member InfoWeb ISP with the 2.85-million-member Nifty-Serve online service operated by its wholly-owned Nifty Corp. subsidiary.

With 3.5 million members, the newly created @nifty "megaprovider" ranks as Japan's largest ISP, ahead of NEC's Biglobe (2.7 million members).

The @nifty service becomes the world's second-largest ISP, slightly larger than Germany's T-Online (3.3 million members) but far behind the US's 19-million-member AOL.

Currently, the merged @nifty offers some 800 user communities/discussion forums, 1,400 free and fee-based online content services, and 300 online store.

Nifty has announced several new services in conjunction with the @nifty launch.

These include an i-mode cellular phone notice board service and a Mobile Fitter conversion service (using Spyglass Prism) that will enable standard Web pages to be displayed on mobile terminals such as cellular phones or palm-size computers.

Other new services are personalized log-on pages, a digital photo print service (in cooperation with Fuji Film), online insurance sales, and a combined shopping@nifty portal service that will have more than 500 stores by the end of March.

Fujitsu and Nifty are counting on the merger to give @nifty a major boost in both performance and prestige, and thus help them to leverage its further growth.

They hope the prospect of reaching Japan's largest single Internet user base will lure more top advertisers and content providers, while the promise of one-stop access to the most extensive online selection of Japanese-language content and services will, in turn, attract more subscribers.