Japan Communications launches MVNO service

8 Aug 2008

Japan Communications announced this week it has completed an interconnection agreement with NTT DoCoMo to offer MVNO services on the network operator’s 3G FOMA network. According to a report from Nikkei Electronics, Japan Communication’s President Seiji Sanda is claiming the agreement marks the launch of ‘the world’s first interconnected MVNO service.’ Until now, mobile virtual network operators have been limited to offering wholesale-type services, leasing all aspects of the lines used, including backend lines, from the operator offering the piggyback service. However, Sanda says this method has traditionally constrained MVNOs as under this business model they are not allowed to ‘introduce their proprietary terminals without the permission of MVOs, for example.’ Although interconnection is common for wireline service providers and ISPs, the mobile sphere has always been treated differently. ‘Thanks to legislation and other factors, it has finally become possible to realise [an interconnect] business model … after 13 years since JCI was established,’ Sanda said.

Japan Communication’s interconnected MVNO service will be structured independently from vertically integrated mobile virtual operator models, enabling overseas manufacturers to freely participate in its development, the newcomer said. Japan Communications will initially offer the MVNO service via a data communication-only USB made by ZTE of China. In the longer term it intends to expand its portfolio to include smartphones, PCs with built-in communication modules, mobile internet devices and Android devices.

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