Japanese Mobile Phone Companies
Hiroko Hayakawa

Now, mobile phones are widely prevalent in Japan. The need of customers for mobile phones is growing. Mobile phones are an essential product in our daily life. In Japan, in 1987, the name specified as ‘keitai-denwa’, ‘mobile phone’ in English, appeared. In 1992, NTT Docomo, the largest Japanese mobile phone company, initiated the business of mobile phones. At that time, mobile phones were analog format. This was the first-generation of mobile phones. Then, the second-generation of digital format appeared. After this, mobile phones developed into a third-generation that is personalization and multimedia. Early mobile phones had only one function, to make a phone call. Now, the Japanese mobile phone companies offer a range of services as well as telephone call and mail services. By offering these services, the companies try to boost their sales. In Japan, the major mobile phone companies are NTT Docomo, 'au', Vodafone, and Tuka. Each company develop their original and unique services in order to differentiate themselves.

with a function of ‘Osaifu
NTT Docomo has focused on developing the service of ‘Osaifu Keitai.’ ‘Osaifu Keitai’ is a mobile phone having the function of acting as money and a credit card. That is, thanks to ‘Osaifu Keitai,’ we can shop in supermarkets and convenience stores, or at vending machines using only our phone as capital. And we can also buy a railway ticket, a commuter pass, an airline ticket, etc. In addition, ‘Osaifu Keitai’ has the function of paying bills, cashing at an ATM and drawing our pay check. Finally, ‘Osaifu Keitai’ can become the key to our condominium building, our company ID card or our student identification card.

'au' focuses on the service of a music player mobile phone. We can enjoy our favorite music directly from our mobile phone. Music mobile phones have the function of downloading cuts from our CD collection via computer and listening to music over an e-mailing system, or as a radio function. The company offers clients a true mobile phone music life style application.

Vodafone focuses on their international services. We can use the same mobile phone abroad which we use in Japan. Thanks to this service, using mobile phones, international call and mail is possible. As above, NTT Docomo, au, and Vodafone focus on the services other than telephone call and mail service.

At the same time, Tuka focuses on the function of making telephone calls and sending e-mail. Tuka widely accommodates easy-to-use and simple mobile phones. Recently, the company has offered mobile phones with the function of only telephoning. How we use this mobile phone is the same as the telephone at home. This product is representative of mobile phones with ease of use and simplicity..This mobile phone received 2004 Good Design Award.


Now Japan is becoming an aging society. This mobile phone is easy for elderly people to use. The ease-to-use mobile phone meets the needs of elderly people.

to see and touch
large-size buttons
high quality
receiver speaker
easy to handle
side grip

As can be seen, mobile phones become diverse in order to meet the needs of a great variety of customers. Then the mobile phone companies think about how to differentiate themselves and meet the many needs of customers each day. And they are intent on improving service. Not only service but also the design of mobile phones is key. That is, color, image, and quality of material are focused on. Now the product design of mobile phones is important as an added value.


NTT Docomo homepage http://www.nttdocomo.co.jp/
au homepage http://www.au.kddi.com/
Vodafone homepage http://www.vodafone.jp/top.htm
Tuka Phone Kansai homepage http://www.tu-ka-kansai.co.jp/
Keitai Web http://homepage3.nifty.com/hoshiino/index4.html

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