NTT DoCoMo Delays 3G Network Launch

During the CTIA Wireless 2001 show in Las Vegas last month, wireless
industry watchers were caught off-guard when a number of wireless technology
firms revealed they were much closer to launching third-generation (3G)
technologies than previously thought.

But the pattern of delays reasserted itself Tuesday when Japan’s wireless
giant, NTT DoCoMo Inc. — widely regarded as being closer to the release of 3G
technologies than other firms — said it would postpone the commercial launch
of 3G service until September. The company initially planned to launch the
service in May.

However, the company said it will conduct a limited “test run” of the
service beginning May 30.

The 3G technology is intended to allow cell phones to deliver streaming
audio and video at broadband speeds, in addition to the more limited
Internet capabilities of today’s cell phones.

The company said it would explain its decision to delay in detail on
Thursday, but NTT DoCoMo has said that it needs to collect user feedback on
the network before it makes a full commercial launch.

Japan’s business daily, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, reported earlier
that the company decided to delay the launch due to technical problems in
software testing. The company denied that the decision to delay was spurred
by technological problems.

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