DoCoMo says 3G users will spend more

NTT DoCoMo president, Keiji Tachikawa, said he expects users of the company's new Foma 3G mobile phone service will spend at...

NTT DoCoMo president, Keiji Tachikawa, said he expects users of the company's new Foma 3G mobile phone service will spend at least 20% more per month than users of its second-generation network.

"Foma provides a faster service, so naturally we expect that there will be more use than on the conventional 2G service," Tachikawa said. "Our current average revenue per user is about 8,000 yen (£48) per month, but Foma users are expected to have an average revenue per users of more than 10,000 yen (£57)."

Increasing revenue per subscriber is becoming more and more important for NTT DoCoMo as growth in I-mode usage, as well as total mobile phone market growth, begins to slow.

"The [mobile] phone market is growing at a pace faster than we expected but, unfortunately, I-mode is not driving the business as much as last year so the pace of growth has slowed down somewhat," said Tachikawa.

"Looking at the estimate for the first six months, accumulated subscriber growth is showing an increase of 17% over the previous year. This is more than we expected. In terms of net growth, the market has been expanding at a pace of 10 million [users] each year for the last several years but I don't think that will be the case for this fiscal year."

NTT DoCoMo plans to launch its 3G service, based on Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA), on a full commercial basis. After postponing plans for a full commercial launch earlier this year, the company has been running a trial service with around 5,000 users and has ironed out numerous bugs and glitches from both the network and handsets.

From 1 October three terminals will go on sale: a standard handset with wireless Internet capability, a more advanced model with built-in video camera and video conferencing capability, and a PC Card data modem terminal for notebook computers.

Despite the delay in the commercial launch, Tachikawa and DoCoMo remain committed to achieving the subscriber goal announced before the delay was decided upon.

"We are confident we can achieve our goal to get 150,000 users by the end of this [financial] year," said Tachikawa.

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