Carriers unite on crisis message plan

Kyodo

NTT DoCoMo Inc., KDDI Corp. and other mobile phone companies are teaming up on an emergency voice message service that will allow customers to notify others of their status during natural disasters.

The companies will use their data communications networks to transmit voice messages because they are less likely to be disrupted than regular calls, officials of the companies said Saturday.

Making mobile phone calls becomes difficult during disasters or other mass-effect events due to severe congestion or restrictions on service imposed by providers to manage the traffic.

The companies initially plan to roll out the service for smartphone users, with NTT DoCoMo looking to launch in March and au operator KDDI after spring.

Softbank Mobile Corp. and eAccess Ltd. have yet to decide their launch schedules.