The move is part of a strategy to promote the rapid development of FOMA phone technology and stimulate market demand for FOMA services.
Since the last half of its fiscal year ended March 31, 2003, DoCoMo has been investing in the development of FOMA phones being developed by other handset manufacturers, including Fujitsu Limited, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, NEC Corp. and Panasonic Mobile Communications Co., Ltd. New handsets manufactured by NEC, Fujitsu and Panasonic were introduced earlier this year, helping boost the number of FOMA users. With the inclusion of Sharp, the total amount to be invested by DoCoMo in the development of FOMA phones by handset manufacturers during fiscal 2002 and 2003 (ending March 31, 2004) is expected to reach approximately 42 billion yen.
Under the terms of DoCoMo’s agreements with them, the five manufacturers are required to develop new FOMA handsets, featuring advanced applications and longer battery life, within the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2004. DoCoMo will share ownership rights for FOMA handset patented technologies and know-how with the manufacturers, receiving royalties if these manufacturers supply similar 3G handsets to other 3G operators.
Advanced handset capabilities and a wide variety of model choices are important to the success of 3G services. By investing in handset development, DoCoMo expects to motivate manufacturers to produce advanced value-added handsets, promoting the development of 3G services and mobile multimedia.
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