DoCoMo, Disney to develop cellphone content

NTT DoCoMo Inc. and Walt Disney International Japan Ltd. are planning to work together to develop mobile Internet content and services for markets outside of Japan, they said Thursday.

The two signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a service that will allow consumers to access entertainment content based on Disney’s range of animated characters via their cellphones. Walt Disney Internet Group (Japan), the Internet content business of Walt Disney International Japan Ltd., already supplies content to I-mode, NTT DoCoMo’s popular wireless Internet service in Japan. The new venture will focus on services for I-mode-based phones overseas.

DoCoMo plans to launch I-mode in the U.S. sometime in 2002 and is also looking at launching the service in several European nations within 2001 under a deal with KPN Mobile NV and Telecom Italia Mobile SpA.

I-mode celebrated its second birthday in Japan in February. The service, which allows users to send and receive e-mail and access a host of entertainment and information services, just added support for downloadable Java applets. It currently has more than 21.4 million users in Japan and is the world’s most successful wireless Internet service.

NTT DoCoMo, in Tokyo, can be contacted at