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Japanese customers get cross-carrier SMS

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Japanese customers get cross-carrier SMS
The title of this article probably confused readers from other markets. But, to clarify, Japanese mobile customers have always been limited to texting within their carrier network. However, in a joint announcement from NTT Docomo, KDDI, SoftBank Mobile, and eAccess, customers can now enjoy cross-carrier SMS.

The carriers announced their intention to connect their SMS services in 2009, but it has taken this long to implement. And, in that time, they've missed out on a large source of revenue. With voice services losing popularity, and fixed-rate data plans becoming the norm, text messaging is often the bread and butter of wireless carriers.

But even with cross-carrier SMS, Japanese consumers will most likely stick with email. NTT Docomo, for example, has more than 50% of its customers on a fixed-rate data plan. So those customers will likely stick with their email services, which have become the norm for text-based messaging.

And the preference for email isn't limited to smartphones. Most feature phones have built-in email clients that users depend on for their short messages. So why are they bothering to intertwine their SMS services? The two-year implementation is proof enough that it wasn't a priority. Perhaps they just feel obliged to comply with the global standard, even if it won't get much use.

source: The Japan Times via Textually

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