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(Nikkei BP Group)

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

  • IDO to Start cdmaOne Mobile Telephone Service in April
  • March 16, 1999 (TOKYO) — IDO Corp. will start its new cdmaOne digital mobile telephone service on April 14, and it aims to gain 1 million new members in the initial year of service.
    Compared with traditional digital mobile phones based on the personal digital cellular (PDC) format, the cdmaOne features more powerful voice reproduction capabilities as well as much more stable communication quality.

    IDO is publicizing four pricing plans for the cdmaOne service: (1) The Comi-ComiOne First, which charges a monthly fixed fee of 32,000 yen (119.74 yen = US$1) and an additional 10 yen for every 40-second call; (2) the Comi-ComiOne Business, which charges 12,500 yen and 10 yen for every 30-second call; (3) Comi-ComiOne Standard — 7,500 yen and 10 yen for every 20-second call; and (d) Comi-ComiOne Economy — 4,500 yen and 10 yen for every 15-second call.

    Also, each plan offers free calls. This is because most new PDC users are selecting plans that offer free calls, according to IDO.

    The free calls allotted for the four plans are: (1) up to 27,000 yen; (2) up to 8,400 yen; (3) up to 4,500 yen; and (4) up to 1,600 yen.

    The 27,000 yen worth of free calls is one of the most generous offers in Japan. However, no other mobile phone company offers a plan that has a fixed monthly charge above 10,000 yen.

    “Because of the high quality of cdmaOne service, this plan is for frequent users, such as business people,” an IDO official said.

    In Japan, cdmaOne services are already offered by such companies as Kansai Cellular Telephone Co., Kyushu Cellular Telephone and Okinawa Cellular Telephone.

    By the time that IDO starts its service, eight cellular companies are expected to be competing for customers. The cdmaOne service, which is to be offered by IDO and other cellular phone companies, is likely to be available nationwide through roaming.

    At the time of the launch, IDO’s service area will cover 94 percent of Tokyo and the 12 prefectures in the Kanto-Koshinetsu-Tokai areas (the central part of Japan) in terms of population. The area coverage of Aichi prefecture will be about 98 percent.

    However, IDO may find it challenging to gain market recognition for “high voice quality” services. As part of its efforts to boost sales in April and May, IDO plans to double the amount of free calls offered to the Comi-ComiOne Economy users.

    (Nikkei Communications)

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