DoCoMo to start 3G video streaming service

NTT DoCoMo Inc. will start offering streaming video next week for its 3G (third-generation) mobile service, which was launched last month, the company announced Wednesday.

The streaming video service was not ready in time for the hasty launch of the world’s first 3G commercial service on Oct. 1, with DoCoMo saying there were problems with the service and handsets.

The I-motion service, which is part of NTT DoCoMo’s wireless Internet I-mode service, will allow users to download video content at a speed of up to 384Kbps (kilobits per second), according to a statement from the company.

A total of 37 sites, offering content such as movie trailers, news highlights and music streaming, will be available from 28 providers, DoCoMo said. The coverage area of the service will be the same as DoCoMo’s 3G network service area, currently metropolitan Tokyo, and will expand along with the 3G service area to western Japan on Dec. 1, the company said.

The streaming video service is expected to start on Nov. 19. On the same day, the company will roll out a new 3G handset, the I-motion compatible N2002 type. The current 3G handsets, the N2001 and the P2101V, cannot support the video service, said Norio Hasegawa, a spokesman for NTT DoCoMo.

The service fee will be included in the 100 yen (US$0.82) basic monthly I-mode fee, and subscribers will pay content charges per packet, similar to existing I-mode sites, Hasegawa said.

Earlier this week, NTT DoCoMo’s closest competitor, KDDI Corp., announced that it would go ahead with its streaming video service in December before launching a 3G network service.

NTT DoCoMo’s announcement of the I-motion service launch, which has come earlier than expected, has confirmed the company’s determination to be recognized as the world’s first 3G service carrier.

NTT DoCoMo, in Tokyo, can be contacted at