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(Japanese Site)

  • DDI to Launch Data Service for Mobile Telephone Users
  • May 27, 1998 (TOKYO) -- DDI Corp., a new common carrier in Japan, said it plans to start a new service that will provide text contents to portable telephone users.
    It will start a test service in January 1999, with full commercial service scheduled to begin next April.

    Users of the service will be able to access and view special data contents stored in a World Wide Web server by using a browser incorporated in their mobile telephone.

    At first, a service with a data transmission speed of 9.6kbps will be made available to users of portable telephones. Later, services intended for personal handyphone systems and household long distance telephones will also be launched. In addition, there are plans for another service to be launched in the future that is aimed at users of cdmaOne, which will start operations in July this year.

    The new service will be offered as one of the menus of DION, DDI's Internet provider service. DDI intends to make the monthly fee for receiving the service less than 1,000 yen (US$8) and, by the year 2001, the company hopes to attract in excess of a million subscribers and to achieve sales of 4 billion yen (US$32 million).

    In order to transmit the contents, the service will employ a communications protocol called wireless application protocol (WAP). Specification standards for WAP are being developed by the WAP Forum, an industry grouping that is centered on Sweden-based Ericsson and Finland-based Nokia Mobile Phones Ltd., along with U.S.-based companies Unwired Planet Inc. and Motorola Inc.

    NTT Mobile Communications Network, Inc. (NTT DoCoMo) has also revealed that it is planning to launch a similar service at the end of this year. However, the new NTT DoCoMo service will use the company's own communications protocol that has been developed independently, and will employ Compact HTML as the content description language.

    The reason why DDI has not developed its own protocol, like DoCoMo, is that it seems highly likely that WAP will become the world industry standard, experts said. Manufacturers of portable telephones around the world are choosing WAP, and in the United States there are already 30-40 content provider services in operation.

    Details are not yet available concerning possible content providers for the domestic Japanese market.

    (Nikkei Electronics)

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    Updated: Tue May 26 19:14:36 1998