RealTime IT News

Mobile Net Access Dominates Japanese Market

Already outdistancing the conventional, wired competition, NTT DoCoMo expects to sign up 20 million mobile Internet subscribers by the end of 2001.

NTT DoCoMo expects to sign up five million i-mode Internet phone users by the end of March, according to managing director Kei-ichi Enoki.

DoCoMo's i-mode is the only network in the world that now allows subscribers continuous access to the Internet via mobile telephone. The service lets users exchange e-mail and chat and navigate among more than 5,000 specially formatted Web sites.

With 4.1 million subscribers today, NTT DoCoMo is already larger than any other Japanese ISP. By comparison, Fujitsu, the top conventional Japanese-language ISP, has only 3.7 million subscribers. Enoki said he expects i-mode subscribership to double to 10 million by December and double again to 20 million by the end of 2001.

New handsets incorporating Sun Microsystems Inc's Java will hit the market at the end of this year, allowing users to download games and use various data agent functions, Enoki said.

NTT DoCoMo's network reaches 99 percent of Japan's populated areas. In January, 2000, NTT DoCoMo claimed 29,441,000 subscribers to its PDC and premium PHS cellular services (not including paging, martime phone, and in-flight telephone services). PDC Internet connections have a maximum speed of 28.8 Kbps and PHS has a maximum speed of 32Kbps, with 64 Kbps PHS services available in some areas.

In the future, NTT DoCoMo expects that wideband CDMA (W-CDMA) services will make mobile multimedia possible.