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Japan Mobile Carrier Expands Reach

August 24, 2001

TOKYO (AP) _ Japan’s top mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo Inc. has agreed to provide three major European carriers with the company’s high-speed data transmission technology, a company official said Friday.

Thursday’s agreement with Germany’s E-Plus, KPN Mobile N.V. of the Netherlands and Belgium’s KPN Orange is the first time that DoCoMo has licensed technology to foreign companies, said NTT DoCoMo spokesman Masafumi Sera.

The technology sales come as competition intensifies with the approaching advent of third-generation, or 3G, cell phones that relay streaming video and zip information at 40 times the speed of cell phones now.

DoCoMo has had success in Japan with its Internet-linking ``i-mode″ phones, which relay e-mail and access the Net to show train schedules, restaurant guides and film reviews. The company is seeking to expand overseas, centering its strategy around 3G and Internet-linking phones.

The technology NTT DoCoMo will provide to the three European companies is called ``multimedia messaging protocol,″ which will enable users to more efficiently send and receive images and other data via mobile phones, Sera said. It is already used for Internet services provided through cell phones in Japan, Sera said.

The three European carriers plan to use the technology to transmit and receive images via cell phones starting in September _ the first such service in Europe, Sera said.

Separately, NTT DoCoMo has promised 3G as a full-fledged commercial service in October, making Japan a pioneer in the technology. Europe is expected to follow, possibly by late next year, with the United States coming even later.

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