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Fri, Feb 09, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Six Japanese firms to develop 3G platform

AP , TOKYO

Six Japanese companies plan to jointly develop a basic platform for manufacturing next-generation mobile phone handsets as a way to cut development time and costs, the companies said yesterday.

NTT DoCoMo Inc, the biggest carrier in Japan, and five manufacturing companies hope to complete the platform -- a system that contains all the basic hardware and software common to mobile phones -- during the July-September quarter of next year, the companies said in a joint statement.

Semiconductor maker Renesas Technology Corp, mobile phone manufacturer Sony Ericcsson Mobile Communications and electronics manufacturers Fujitsu Ltd, Mitsubishi Electric Corp and Sharp Corp round out the consortium.

The companies said that joint development of the basic platform for third-generation (3G) mobile phones should help cut their development time and costs, freeing them to invest more time and resources on developing distinctive handset features and expand their product lineups.

Renesas plans to provide the platform to the worldwide W-CDMA market in addition to customers in Japan, the statement added.

W-CDMA is a 3G wireless technology that allows for speedier Internet connections and downloads of digital files over cellphone networks.

The platform will also support telephones based on 2G technologies, the statement said.

Separately, Japan's Telecommunications Carriers Association announced on Wednesday that the total number of mobile telephone subscriptions in the country topped 100 million for the first time last month.

Mobile phone service subscriptions rose to 100.22 million as of Jan. 31, up 0.4 percent from 99.83 million the previous month, it said.

The figure combines data for mobile phone contracts with subscriptions to personal handyphone systems (PHS), a type of mobile phone service developed in Japan.

The PHS service is known for its high voice quality and low power consumption, but the service area covered by each PHS base station is much smaller than systems using newer technologies.

The total number of subscriptions represents about 78 percent of Japan's population of 127.8 million, though that does not take into account the possibility of one person having multiple mobile phone contracts.

Mobile phone users are a ubiquitous sight in Japan, where people use the phones for everything from listening to music and downloading videos to sending e-mail and surfing the Internet.

Some more recent phone models are also equipped to function as electronic wallets.

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