eMobile to launch mobile phone service on 31 March

19 Feb 2007

eMobile, the wireless arm of Japanese ISP eAccess, says it will launch its high speed mobile services in Japan on 31 March. eMobile plans to offer high speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) services for a fixed fee of USD50 per month, eAccess said in a statement. The newcomer is also introducing a handset made by a Japanese vendor that uses the Microsoft Windows mobile operating system. The service will initially cover Japan’s major cities of Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka, the company said.

eMobile won its licence in November 2005. Its main shareholders are eAccess, Goldman Sachs and Temasek Holdings. Temasek acquired a 7% stake in May 2006 for JPY12 billion (USD107 million). In April 2006 eMobile said it planned to raise JPY42 billion (USD359 million) from issuing new shares to help fund network rollout, adding that it had also secured a JPY220 billion credit line from banks — thought to be the largest non-recourse project-finance loan in Japan, which is surprising for a company whose services have not yet begun. eAccess signed a 3G roaming deal with NTT DoCoMo in October 2006, allowing it to launch a nationwide mobile service before its own network rollout is complete.

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