MMJ: Japanese market update 22/08/2002

Japan’s wireless professionals are well rested and back in action after their seasonal holiday. Qualcomm Japan’s President Ted Matsumoto kicked off the week by targeting 800,000 monthly subscribers using handsets featuring Qualcomm’s CDMA2000 1x technology. Matsumoto said he hopes to see 7 million new CDMA 1x users within a year. Qualcomm provides CDMA-based 3G technology to KDDI Corporation.

Toshiba Corp. and Toshiba Location Information began working with KDDI to provide a new location information service for ‘au’ subscribers. The package will allow corporate users to locate salespeople on a map via their cell phones. MMJ has been using some of KDDI’s handsets using GPS technology and although we think it’s cool, remember it is not quite pinpoint accurate without open sky or line-of-sight to catch the satellite beams.

The Toshiba service will include an e-daily reporting service for smaller firms to create a business log showing workers as ‘on the road’ or ‘in a meeting’, and an e-location service for keeping track of individuals or family members. One interesting feature will be the ability to select regions or areas for tracking, as the new service will be able to locate people nationwide as opposed to just Tokyo. So even if you are in Okinawa, Big Brother might be watching, but you will both need to sign up first.

In the ‘where is wireless Japan heading’ section, there is an awful lot of experimentation going on using smart cards, ticketing, coupons and e-cash. We see an increased effort to develop the e-currency potential of the handset. One strong player is Sony, which released a new credit card with the Edy electronic money system, a consortium of 25 members and led by Sony and NTT DoCoMo. The credit card will be adopted by seven majorJapanese banks and credit card companies, and comes a few weeks after a separate NTT DoCoMo announcement concerning a DoCoMo credit card.

Written by Scott Murff for PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence.

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