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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • NTT DoCoMo to Launch Text Services for Mobile Phones
  • January 27, 1999 (TOKYO) — The nine companies in the NTT Mobile Communications Network Inc. (NTT DoCoMo) Group will launch the “iMode” text information service for mobile phones on Feb. 22.
    Subscribers will be able to receive news reports and weather forecasts, make banking transactions and handle other applications.

    iMode is a mobile communications service that delivers information and enables exchange of email. The only requirement is a mobile phone that supports such services.

    By making text information services available to mobile phone users who may not own a personal computer or personal digital assistant, NTT DoCoMo hopes to expand its mobile communications customer base.

    In addition to delivering news reports, weather forecasts, stock reports and other information in text form, iMode provides online services such as banking, securities trading and airline and concert ticketing. Sixty-seven content providers are expected to participate initially.

    Customers will be able to send and receive email over the Internet, using “[mobile phone number]@docomo.ne.jp” as their personal email address. A feature of the email service is immediate delivery of incoming messages to the customer from NTT DoCoMo’s mail server.

    The monthly base charge for iMode is 300 yen (US$2.60). The additional data charge is 0.3 yen per packet (128 bytes).

    NTT DoCoMo will sell the F501i HYPER (see photo) from Fujitsu Ltd. as an iMode-capable terminal. This model weighs 92 grams, which is slightly heavier than the latest 70-80g mobile phones, but it incorporates a large display that holds six lines of Kanji characters at eight characters per line for easy viewing of information.

    The F501i HYPER provides approximately 120 minutes of continuous talk time and 180 standby hours. It will be the only iMode-capable model on the market when the service debuts, but NTT DoCoMo plans to add three more models in March or thereafter.

    Related story: TU-KA Group Employs WAP Protocol for Mobile Phone Service

    (Nikkei Communications)

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