Symbian touts DoCoMo deal as 'blessing' of OS

Symbian and NTT DoCoMo have simplified and sped up the process of bringing future 3G (third generation) handsets to market with an operator technology integrator agreement, the London company announced Friday.

The move is an important stamp of approval for the Symbian OS (operating system), according to Symbian spokesman Peter Bancroft. "DoCoMo is one of the leaders in 3G and to have DoCoMo's blessing -- so to speak -- of the Symbian OS will encourage manufacturers to embrace it as well. It is an important strategic win for Symbian," Bancroft said.

The agreement gives NTT DoCoMo, of Tokyo, access to Symbian OS source code as well as the right to deliver extended versions of the code to phone manufacturers that are Symbian OS licensees, Bancroft said.

"Things work a little differently in Japan in that the handset manufacturers are building the products to DoCoMo's specifications," Bancroft said. "That covers a wide variety of features such as content viewers, the browsers and the DRM (digital rights management) and billing solutions. This agreement simplifies that process of specifying the platform."

Simplifying the specification process will make it cheaper to produce 3G handsets for DoCoMo, Bancroft said.

Specifically, the agreement covers NTT DoCoMo FOMA 3G network services on phones based on Symbian OS. The FOMA 3G service is based on the WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) standard. The agreement won't take effect until the production of next generation handsets expected in early 2005, Bancroft said.

Manufacturers began to ship products for DoCoMo using Symbian technology early this year. Most recently, Fujitsu Ltd. in July released the F2102V in Japan, a mobile video phone supporting DoCoMo's FOMA 3G mobile service and running the Symbian OS.

Bancroft declined to speculate on what the agreement may mean in terms of DoCoMo's plans for its move into the European market. Representatives from DoCoMo could not immediately be reached for comment.

There is a financial component to the agreement between NTT DoCoMo and Symbian, according to Bancroft, but he declined to specify the amount. "It is not a per-unit deal, it's more for covering costs," he said.

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Laura Rohde

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