Something for the weekend…from Japan

There is a Japanese theme to this edition of ‘Something for the weekend…’

DoCoMo goes faster

Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo has announced the availability of its first HSDPA handset – the NEC-manufactured N902iX. It claims speeds on the downlink of up to 3.6 Mbs, 10 times faster than current FOMA 3G devices. The handset features a 4 megapixel camera, the ability to download hour long music programmes in the background and support for video clips 10 times bigger than those offered on existing 3G handsets (up to 5 Mb). DoCoMo says all of Tokyo will support HSDPA initially, with 70 percent population coverage in 6 months and 90 percent in 18 months. Read the full release here.

KDDI announces upgrades ahead of number portability

Japan is the latest market to introduce number portability (from 24th October 2006), allowing subscribers to keep their mobile number when they switch operators. Conscious of the increased competition it will face, second-placed operator KDDI has announced it will spend YEN 200 billion over the next 3 years to upgrade to Qualcomm’s CDMA2000 EV-DO Revision A, enabling it to achieve network speeds comparable to DoCoMo’s HSDPA deployment. According to this FT article, capital expenditure will grow by more than 20 percent at KDDI, versus a 2 percent rise at DoCoMo.

More ways to pay

In other news, KDDI will pre-install JCB’s credit card management software on its handsets, as it seeks to counter DoCoMo’s aggressive moves into mobile payments. DoCoMo is investing directly in credit card companies to expedite the rollout of point-of-sale terminals compatible with its mobile payment service and launch its own credit services.

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