TOKYO, JAPAN, April 8, 2004 --- NTT DoCoMo, Inc. and its eight regional subsidiaries announced today that they would separately manage voice calls and data packet transmissions for some handsets to avoid excessive network congestion during major natural disasters.
The move is expected to increase the ability to successfully transmit text messages to DoCoMo's i-mode® Disaster Message Board service, even if network traffic should rise sharply during a major disaster.
Presently, if network traffic were to become exceedingly heavy during a disaster, DoCoMo could be forced to block traffic in selected areas on a temporary basis to prevent serious degradation of network performance. In some instances, urgent messages sent to the Disaster Message Board could be blocked inadvertently.
By separating management of voice calls and data packet transmissions, DoCoMo expects that text messages will have an increased chance for successful transmission during a disaster, when the traffic of voice calls would likely rise and that of data packet transmissions would be relatively low.
The i-mode Disaster Message Board service, launched on January 17, enables i-mode subscribers in Japan to post text messages on a special i-mode site, rather than making voice calls, to help avoid network congestion. DoCoMo will enable users to try out the service (Japanese only) from 10:00 a.m., April 20 to 5 p.m., April 26.
In a separate measure, DoCoMo users making calls during major disasters will hear an announcement encouraging them to use the
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NTT DoCoMo's FOMA service is available only to subscribers in Japan.