3G : NTT DoCoMo to take Foma to Paris

NTT DoCoMo Inc. and Fujitsu Ltd. are planning to set up a trial base station for NTT’s Foma third generation (3G) cellular service in Paris in November this year as part of their efforts to promote 3G technology, the two companies said Friday.

The base station will be set up in the Paris showroom of electronics and telecommunication giant Alcatel SA and be connected to NTT DoCoMo’s Foma network in Japan via a leased line, according to a memorandum of understanding signed by the three companies. Fujitsu and Alcatel jointly established Evolium SAS to develop and sell 3G mobile telecommunication networks.

Once in place the set-up will allow visitors to the showroom to use commercial Japanese Foma handsets and try services available to NTT DoCoMo subscribers. The service was launched in Japan just over two years ago and recently passed the one million subscriber mark.

Establishment of the Paris showroom comes just over a year after NTT DoCoMo set up similar base stations at AT&T Wireless Services Inc.’s offices in New York and KPN Mobile NV’s offices in the Netherlands. They are part of the Japanese company’s attempts to generate interest and press coverage for its Foma system, which is based on Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA).

The three companies said the Paris showroom will be open for one year. The showrooms in the U.S. and Netherlands both opened in October 2002 and were scheduled to remain open for a year however NTT DoCoMo said that has now been extended and they will remain open.