• Compiled From Staff, Kyodo Reports

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NTT DoCoMo Inc. said Tuesday it will start a new service this fall that sends an information ticker to handset screens.

The i-channel will provide news and weather, sports and entertainment information with updates every two hours for a fixed monthly fee of 150 yen.

Takeshi Natsuno, senior vice president of DoCoMo’s multimedia services department, said the service is designed to get more i-mode subscribers to use the Internet function.

He said only 40 percent of i-mode users visit sites that charge, with the rest turned off by the complicated process needed to access their favorite sites via mobile phone.

“But those who do not use i-mode much also want to check weather information and news on their cell phones,” he said.

The new ticker inserts an information bar on cell phones’ standby displays. Natsuno said he hopes the service will lure users to fee-based i-mode services.

The carrier also unveiled three new handsets designed for the service. Scheduled to be released this fall, they are likely to be priced around 25,000 yen.

Meanwhile, rival KDDI Corp. released two new handset models Tuesday that feature electronic money functions. Customers will be able to use the handsets to make purchases and, from January, as train tickets, because they are compatible with the Mobile Suica ticket gates of East Japan Railway Co.

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