NTT DoCoMo expects 6M subscribers by 2004

NTT DoCoMo expects its third-generation (3G) wireless mobile service to pull in 150,000 customers by the end of this year and six...

NTT DoCoMo expects its third-generation (3G) wireless mobile service to pull in 150,000 customers by the end of this year and six million within three years, delivering a profit by 2005. Company president and CEO Keiji Tachikawa made the announcement today at the 10th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW10) in Hong Kong.

The WCDMA (Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access) service will be rolled on 30 May to 4,000 customers around Tokyo, Yokohama and Kawasaki. Tachikawa said that these customers will not pay a service subscription fee, only a per bit fee for the data they download. It will be rolled out to a 30-kilometre radius from central Tokyo in October and within three years will be available to 97% of Japan's population.

DoCoMo is optimistic despite gloomy predictions on the prospects for 3G by some analysts, which has been fuelled in part by a delay in DoCoMo's planned rollout of full commercial 3G service from May to October.

"We strongly believe that there is a strong appetite for advanced services by customers," Tachikawa said.

Last month, Tachikawa denied that this month's rollout is less than a full commercial service. The plan for a smaller deployment arose as a result of bugs in the network, some of which are still there, he said.

DoCoMo is also looking forward to further generations of high-speed mobile communications - 4G and 5G technology - to deliver better mobile multimedia services, Tachikawa said. He expected the 4G services to provide 2Mbps to high-speed devices and 20Mbps to stationary devices, all at one-tenth of the cost of initial 3G services.

The future growth of telecommunications in Japan will be driven by machine-to-machine communications, as mobile device use levels off and more advanced applications are developed, Tachikawa said.

"We want to provide services not only to people but to anything that can move," he added. 
 

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