"And to be honest, I think DoCoMo is holding out for the next version of WAP 2.0 to be rolled out. It is really a matter of perception and if all the pieces are in place, it would make it look extra good and appealing to consumers," Pescatore said. The newest version of WAP is not expected to be released until sometime towards the end of this year, he added.
Although the new wireless Internet service to be offered will be based on Compact HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), a subset of the HTML language used on the Internet, handsets for the new service will be dual mode and offer access to WML (Wireless Markup Language) content, the standard for WAP services.
DoCoMo is also reliant on KPN to roll out its GPRS network to consumers, something is has yet to do.
"KPN has launched GPRS in the Netherlands, but specifically for the corporate customer," Pescatore said.
I-mode is tailored to the consumer market, offering consumer services such as weather forecasts and online games. It has saturated that market in Japan and is aiming to do the same in Europe, Pescatore said.
"KPN is shooting to launch GPRS to the consumer market in the Netherlands and in Germany -- which will be a very important market -- towards the last quarter of this year," Pescatore said.
According to Matusbayashi, DoCoMo still plans on launching the I-mode service in Europe before offering the services worldwide. But the company also plans to launch the service in the U.S. next year. "We plan on launching I-mode in the U.S. with the help of AT&T (Corp.) and in other Asian countries," and are still aiming to do so before the end of 2002, Matusbayashi said.
NTT DoCoMo, in Tokyo, can be contacted at +81-3-5563-7015 or found online at http://www.nttdocomo.co.jp/.