Japan’s J-Phone and Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa Ltd said on Friday they would stand by plans to launch third-generation (3G) mobile services this year, despite a sluggish start to the high-speed service by industry leader NTT DoCoMo Inc. DoCoMo President Keiji Tachikawa said on Thursday that judging from the slow uptake of its service the company would probably have to lower its target of 1.38 million 3G subscribers by next March, casting a cloud over its growth prospects. J-Phone, Japan’s third-largest wireless carrier, said it still planned to launch its 3G service in December. “It’s way too early to draw any conclusion on 3G,” said a spokesman for J-Phone, which is operated by Japan Telecom Holdings Co Ltd and its parent Vodafone Group Plc. “We are talking about a service that is still at an early stage in its evolution,” he said.Written by Reuters for PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence.
DoCoMo won’t be given the benefit of the doubt for much longer. It has had more than a year in which to test the commercial deployment of its 3G service and is now being shown a clean pair of heels by its closest competitor, KDDI. There is an increasing onus on NTT DoCoMo to justify its choice of technology, patchy initial deployment strategy and inability to source dual-mode handsets, as PMN highlighted in the 05/09/2002 story ‘NTT DoCoMo to miss FOMA targets‘.
In contrast, this article from Reuters confirms the comments made by PMN in the 03/09/2002 piece ‘Vodafone to launch Italian 3G next year‘. Hutchison is aware that its early launch in Western Europe provides it with an opportunity to meet customer demand for multimedia features several months ahead of its competitors. It will also now be closely studying DoCoMo’s FOMA, not as a model for success, but as an example of how not to launch 3G.
Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.