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Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010

LIFELINES

Going wireless on the move


Reader A.V. wants to get Internet service for his apartment but does not want to do it through a fixed-line service.

"Is it possible to get online with a wireless system that you can take with you and also work at home?" he asks.

Yes, there are a number of good ways to get online while on the move.

In fact, Japan was one of the pioneers of wireless access.

The first commercial citywide cellular phone network was launched in Japan by NTT in 1979. NTT DoCoMo also introduced the first full Internet service in the world for mobile phones, with i-Mode in 1999.

Two years later, DoCoMo was still at the head of the pack, establishing the first commercial network using 3G (Third Generation) mobile technology.

Vodafone (now Softbank) joined the fray in 2002 with its own 3G network.

In terms of wireless services for PCs, one of the best around today comes courtesy of Emobile, whose president, Sachio Senmoto, has long been a pioneer in Japan, starting DDI (now KDDI) and eAccess before establishing Emobile.

The good thing about Emobile is that you can get a brand new laptop computer with mobile wireless capability built in for about ¥10,000 when you sign up for the service.

Check them out at www.emobile.jp. Please note, however, that the main site is only in Japanese. A basic site in English about the company is at www.emobile.jp/en/.

Other possibilities to consider include Willcom and DoCoMo.

With Willcom, you get a small device to plug into the port of your computer that provides wireless service wherever you are. For further information, check out www.willcom-inc.com.

DoCoMo provides a similar service with a similar device. See www.nttdocomo.co.jp for more information. You can also track down your local DoCoMo retailer via this site.

A good place to get advice on the best provider and package for you is any branch of Bic Camera ( www.biccamera.com ). Its flagship store is in front of JR Yurakucho Station in central Tokyo.

Bic Camera has all the services listed above on offer in one place, with English-speaking staff on hand at many branches to help you figure out which plan works for you.

Any ideas from our readers? Are there any other services you would recommend that we have not mentioned?

Please let us know so we can pass the information on. (K.J.)

Angela Jeffs is a freelance writer and writing guide (www.thewriterwithin.net/). Ken Joseph directs the Japan Helpline at www.jhelp.com and (0570) 000-911. Send queries, problems and posers to community@japantimes.co.jp


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