• Kyodo

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The U.S. and European markets will need two years to reach the $400 million in mobile commerce revenue generated in Japan today, a U.S. Internet research firm said Monday.

“European and U.S. carriers must use the next 24 months to upgrade their infrastructure and adopt business models that have driven the success of the Japanese market,” Jupiter Communications Inc. said in a survey.

Jupiter’s survey shows that by the end of 2000, the number of wireless subscribers with Internet-enabled handsets, such as NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode mobile phones, will reach 6 million both in the U.S. and Europe, against 30 million in Japan.

Jupiter estimates that revenue generated from mobile commerce in 2000 will amount to $10 million in the U.S. and $15 million in Europe, against almost $400 million in Japan.

As the market reaches critical mass in 2003, the number of wireless subscribers with Internet-capable handsets will jump to 115 million and 254 million in the U.S. and Europe, respectively. By that year, the global market for mobile commerce will reach $7.6 billion, with the U.S. accounting for $600 million, Europe $1.7 billion and Japan $3.5 billion, Jupiter said.

IT vouchers, round 2

Economic Planning Agency chief Taichi Sakaiya said Tuesday he hopes an alternative to a failed proposal to issue “IT vouchers” subsidizing the cost of computer literacy and Internet courses will be included in the supplementary budget for fiscal 2000.

“Through other ways, we want to make efforts to boost usage of the Internet,” Sakaiya said at a news conference.

As a possible measure, Sakaiya cited subsidies to local municipalities that hold computer literacy courses.

Commenting on the government’s decision not to incorporate the IT voucher plan into the extra budget, Sakaiya, an advocate of the plan, said, “It was impossible to promote (the plan) due to its negative image” of scattering budgetary resources.

The plan was to cost 300 billion yen and cover some 30 million adults, making it the centerpiece of the extra budget. However, it failed to garner substantial support even from within the three ruling parties.

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