Nikkei Reports Docomo To Copy KDDI’s Successful Android App Subscription Program “Smart-Pass”

Nikkei Business reported as a “breaking news” today [J] that Japan’s largest telco NTT Docomo is planning to start the fixed rate Android app subscription service such like #2 KDDI’s au Smart Pass earliest in June.

iPhone

KDDI’s Smart Pass, which charges 390 yen (US$4.00) every month for variety of Android apps set, recently passed 5 million subscribers. 1 out of 6 KDDI users using the Internet connection on their cellphone are subscribing the service.

KDDI And Gijutsu Hyouronsha Hold AR Development Contest

Gijutsu Hyouronsha Inc. [J] and KDDI Inc. [J] are hosting the Dai Nikai Sacchi Ningen Contest [J] (Second Time Sense Human Contest), a contest for AR (Augmented Reality) applications developed using KDDI’s AR application development environment “SATCH SDK”.

“Dai Nikai Sacchi Ningen Contest” is an app contest targeted for engineers and creators.  The first screening is not for completed apps, but will judge the contents based on ideas using SATCH SDK.  Applicants who pass that will submit and present the completed apps at the final screening stage to be held in May.  Furthermore, ideas from among applicant works after passing the final screening will belong to KDDI.  1 million yen will be awarded to the grand prize winner (one work).  The judging chairman is Kawada Tomu of AR Sankyoudai (A Japanese AR developer).

Translation authorized by VSMedia

The Nikkei: KDDI To Start Offering The iPad Mini From November

The existence of a smaller version of the iPad hasn’t even been confirmed by Apple yet, but here is something fresh from the rumor mill in Japan: according to a report published in The Nikkei today, KDDI is currently “finalizing a deal” under which the company will start offering the “iPad Mini” from November.

So far, rival SoftBank has been the sole 3G service provider for the iPad in Japan. The country’s third largest carrier also monopolized the domestic iPhone market until Apple tied up with KDDI, too, in October last year.

One year later, it looks like history repeats itself, but this time with a tablet.

If the Nikkei report is to be believed, KDDI asked Apple to sell the current generation of the iPad in Japan earlier this year as well, but the deal fell through.

The paper is not ruling out the possibility that SoftBank will offer the iPad Mini along with KDDI.

As a reaction to the rumor, KDDI stock rose today at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, while shares of SoftBank fell.

SoftBank Starts Using The 900MHz “Platinum Band”

There can be no doubt that SoftBank is the mobile carrier with the weakest network among Japan’s big three telcos, following that of NTT Docomo and KDDI. But now there is hope that things will finally change for the better.

Back in March this year, the Japanese government decided to allocate the 900-megahertz band (also dubbed “platinum band”) to SoftBank. And yesterday, the company finally started using the band, with plans to set up a total of 42,000 compatible base stations all over Japan by 2019.

Users can check the areas that are serviced by visiting this website (it looks like large parts of Greater Tokyo will get covered by September this year).

SoftBank, which currently has 30 million subscribers, expects cost for the network upgrade to amount to around US$10.5 billion.

Last month, the Japanese government allocated another “platinum band” to Docomo, KDDI, and eAccess: SoftBank’s rivals plan to use the 700-megahertz band for their LTE services from 2015.

 

KDDI’s Subsidiary Wire And Wireless To Offer Free WiFi At Starbucks, Starting From Tokyo

Wire and Wireless (wi2), a subsidiary of Japan’s second largest cellphone carrier KDDI, announced [J] its new free WiFi program at Starbucks Coffee chain-store in Japan.

Free WiFi at cafe? If you have ever tried to find free WiFi in Japan, you know this is a news.

The free WiFi program, “at_STARBUCKS_Wi2”, is sponsored by Starbucks Coffee Japan. What you need to provide is your mail address, when you use at registration. Although Wi2 is a KDDI company, there are no carrier restriction, which you might face at the many Japanese shops/restaurants where posting “free WiFi” stickers.

Wi2 offers English site and customer service besides Japanese, this seems reasonable as in Japan, visiting foreigners are the most likely people who need free WiFi.

They are to install the service since July 2, first from 200 stores in central Tokyo (out of 227), then by the end of this year, 850 of 955 shops nationwide will have it, according to the release. You will be able to search the free WiFi Starbucks here.

via ITMedia [J]