TOKYO, JAPAN, January 9, 2004 --- NTT DoCoMo, Inc. and its eight regional subsidiaries announced today the launch of an i-mode® Disaster Message Board service beginning from January 17, allowing i-mode subscribers in Japan to post personal messages at a special i-mode site (provided in Japanese only) in the event of major calamities such as high-magnitude earthquakes.
Mobile phones have become an integral part of everyday communication infrastructure, underscored by the fact there are currently more than 45 million DoCoMo cellular phone users. Should a major disaster occur, the network will undoubtedly be extremely busy as — in addition to the heavy traffic among administrative and relief agencies — ordinary users in the affected locale attempt outside contact to worried relatives and friends. The message board is an electronic bulletin board service that will enable subscribers within a disaster area to post messages on their personal safety and circumstances.
Under the present network system, there may be instances in the case of a major disaster where the flow of both voice calls and data packet transmissions would have to be controlled. This would be necessary to prevent degradation in network performance due to congestion from the anticipated flood of calls. Such a situation could interfere with the message board service, which relies on data packet transmission. However, by combining the service with technology to be deployed by DoCoMo in the near future to separately control voice calls and data packet transmissions, text sent to the i-mode Disaster Message Board can be expected to arrive safely despite the probable network congestion.
Message registration and confirmation will be as follows. In the event of a major calamity, DoCoMo will set up a "Disaster Message Board" link on the i-mode official portal site "iMenu." An i-mode user in the disaster area would click this link to access the Disaster Message Board main page. The user would then select "Registration" and input a message following the instructions given on the page. A user can register up to 10 messages (maximum 100 Japanese or 200 alphanumeric characters), each to be saved a maximum 72 hours. Someone wishing to check for a message left by a person in the disaster area would connect to the iMenu site, go to the Disaster Message Board, select "Confirmation", and input that person's cell phone number to display any registered messages. Messages can be checked as well via PHS or PC by visiting
http://dengon.docomo.ne.jp/top.cgi. (Japanese only)
Because the Disaster Message Board service is intended to be available only during catastrophes, DoCoMo will terminate service after a prescribed period of time — to be notified beforehand via the iMenu site.
In line with official requirements, DoCoMo notified the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Post and Telecommunications of the service.
About NTT DoCoMo
NTT DoCoMo is the world's leading mobile communications company with more than 47 million customers. The company provides a wide variety of leading-edge mobile multimedia services. These include i-mode®,
the world's most popular mobile internet service, which provides e-mail and internet access to over 40 million subscribers, and FOMA®, launched in 2001 as the world's first 3G mobile service based on W-CDMA.
In addition to wholly owned subsidiaries in Europe and North America, the company is expanding its global reach through strategic alliances with mobile and multimedia service providers in Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America. NTT DoCoMo is listed on the Tokyo (9437), London (NDCM), and New York (DCM) stock exchanges. For more information, visit www.nttdocomo.co.jp/english
i-mode and FOMA are trademarks or registered trademarks of NTT DoCoMo, Inc. in Japan and other countries.
NTT DoCoMo's FOMA service is available only to subscribers in Japan.