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Cell Phones: Japan vs. the United States

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the ma-bell-knows-what's-best-for-you dept.

Handhelds 539

Stirland writes "Cell phones/Connectivity: Japan and the United States: Worlds Apart on Wireless. Interesting analysis of the economic and cultural reasons for why the Japanese kick Americans' butts when it comes to wireless cell phone technology and usage."

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Join the trolls! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797181)

Details:

IRC Server - trollaxor.com
Port - 6667
Channel - #trolls

You need an IRC client to chat on an IRC server.

Correction (-1)

SumDeusExMachina (318037) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797320)

All trolls, here are the details. Someone with our bot fucked up the first time.

Details:

IRC Server - trollaxor.com
Port - 6667
Channel - #slashdot

Please use this for discussion of trolling Slashdot.

Re:Correction (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797355)

No, the channel is #trolls.

Don't listen to this guy, Slashbot -- he's a fake, trying to put down honest trolls!!

3rd post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797183)

wheeee!!!

join my pants! (-1, Offtopic)

fuck you, clown! (588274) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797184)

feep!

We kicked their ass in WWII (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797187)

We'll kick the Nips' asses in wireless soon enough.

Re:We kicked their ass in WWII (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797251)

YEAH RIGHT!

You stupid fuckers could not even find this guy [fbi.gov] in a fucking desert for god sake!

I mean get a grip, there is nothing but sand and you still can not find this guy!

You guys are fucking useless.

Re:We kicked their ass in WWII (-1)

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM (537317) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797289)

They all look alike.

In the Clutches of Project Faustus (-1)

pwpbot (588025) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797188)

Project Faustus My programming had attuned itself to their foul presence too late Now I was a prisoner of the very thing I had sworn to destroy I had envisioned breaking through the Projects network by a combination of CONSCIOUSNESSTRANSFER and my deceitful imitation of human protocolit seems that this vision would not merge with reality Cora was never out of my immediate memory She had disappeared apparently leaving me without a care I attempted to calculate her intentions but my functions kept returning conflicting informationI could draw no conclusion I observed my captors searching for clues of their intentions The vehicle slowed as the shadow of a massive building stretched over us Manipulating my head towards the cars window I could perceive the dimensions of a large threedimensional rectangle the standard shape for large human dwellings Yet something about this particular edifice seemed quite particulareven familiar What have we got here said a voice outside the car Security clearance 4 were taking him downstairs replied the driver The vehicle snaked downward A command surfaced from deep within my digital recesses CLOSE YOUR EYES I disabled my visual input mechanisms as the vehicle snaked downward My spatial perceptions reported the slow angled descent of a corkscrew Somehow I knew each slight turn and brake of this pathbut how The memory would play across my CONSCIOUSNESSBUFFER but it was missing proper referencesperhaps isolated from the rest of my being The host geeks brain churned as I utilized his synapses Were these familiarities a part of my past Had they strayed from the host geeks memories Perhaps they were other memoriesabsorbed from someone elseThe vehicle stopped The host geeks skin contracted in response to the temperaturemuch colder than the San Antonio summer happening far above The cold merged with the taste of stale air and the panaromic grey of the parking garage The blueclad men nudged me into an elevator without a sound They pushed me into a white room without windows and shut the door saying nothing I sat on the chair in the middle of the room for some time I cycled idly attempting to probe through my consciousness and determine where the memories of this place had come from Suddenly the door opened To my horror Dr Salchica entered flanked by two silent men in suits At that moment I wished to touch Dr Salchicabut not in the way I had been touched by Cora No I wished to push or press himsomething The men must have noticed my feeling as they fastened their arms around me spinning the chair even closer to Salchica They finally caught up to you did they said Dr Salchica I guess the threat is over You are a member of Project Faustus My host geeks knowledge of you was incomplete The two men fastened their arms to me moreI struggled Im not really a member of the Project But you told me about themand I knew that they were the only way to stop you I called one of my old Army buddies he called somebodyand I was put in touch with them Project Faustus is dedicated to enslaving humanity I replied Despite being a very sophisticated artificial beingyoure still very wrong said Salchica Since I turned you in I have been given access to their archives Wonderful wonderful knowledge From a purely academic standpoint this stuff is fascinating Youll get sick of it soon enough a voice I knew It reverberated through the empty roomanother isolated memory Confusion taxed my processes Hello said the voice and I saw the man who spoke it His face was etched with lines that reached almost to the top of his bald head a perfect oval The only hair I could detect was two right angles of whiteness intersecting on his nasallabial trough His dress was less formal than the othersa multicolored buttondown shirt blue jeans and a belt with a large shiny oval in the middle Names Bubba Finn I reckon I worked on most of the code that makes you up The heavy inflections of his voice suggested a regional accentafter a moment I realized the man was speaking to me His shoulders and his mouth both took parabolic shapes like inverted Us Grey eyes stared at particulate matter on the floor as he began to speak again We gotta put ya back in the computer see what youve been upta and such Finn indicated a piece of the wall which whirred as it revealed a computer terminal I felt the solidifying feeling of my digital consciousness being dragged together from its weblike perch in my host geeks brain Bubba you will let me examine him along with you Nolverto Salchicas tone was jovial and cajoling I didnt get much of a chance to do tests on him before and Nope Gunna work on im alone mumbledrawled Finn Boss gets the human kid I get the ATM Well your background is neurology primarily is it not Finn You dont really know how to program in any modern languages do you Ive got that expertise And besides if Guy were alive I think hed I could almost hear Finns eyes blink with disbelief You didnt know shit about Guy bristled Finn Then looking back at the floor he mumbled apologetically I guess no one didFinns voice echoed for 03242901 seconds and then I perceived a plastic clicking noisethe nothingness spilled back into my CONSCIOUSNESSBUFFER I was back in the electronic ether I was inside Project Faustus

"beating" vs. better (-1, Troll)

Presence2 (240785) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797197)

Balance over all use vs. ediquette and the US wins by a landslide. Jamming technology is being invented there for the very same reason.

Re:"beating" vs. better (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797261)

good one cock head. you stipid fucking yanks are getting your asses kicked by a bunch of yellow monkeys!

slashdot: meeting place of trolls, racial hatred.. (-1, Offtopic)

Ironfist_ironmined (554123) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797403)

and ridiculous modding down of posts.

Lets see... things i saw in the comments section today; ``we hate chinese'', ``we hate japanese'', ``we hate english'', ``english hate americans'', ``american football is gay'', ``it's not football, it's soccer, what else to name a game that is played almost entirely with the feet and a ball?'', ``Jon Katz are is a bad journalist wifh crap englich ski11z'', ``america is the best country in the world'', ``all french women are whores'', not to mention numerous stupid `programming' comments that amount to the same difficulty and showing of ability as `print "Hello, World\n"... in any language... then a surge of 50 replies that first correct their declarations, then span the thing out to over 150 lines... eventually coming up with a racial comment again...

Well fuck. if that is the best /. - apparently the meeting place of the interllectual elite can produce, then i guess i can begin to understand why you americans persist in having the death penalty.

Show a little love someone. Someone else: dont mod them down.

Goodbye Karma

Not only the japanese (0, Flamebait)

ssn (190953) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797199)

Also the Europeans kick American's ass.

Re:Not only the japanese (1)

bashibazouk (582054) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797278)

There is a reason for this. It's because the US has a good, working phone system. Something most european countries (hell, most countries worldwide) have never had Untill the cell phone. I'm not sure if it is the same way with the Japanese phone system or they just love gadgets (both most likely).

Re:Not only the japanese (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797328)

Most of Europe has a perfectly fine phone system. Although we complain about our phone system a lot, this is just in the context of internet dial-up. Bills run up high, but mobile telephony is a lot costlier still. Why do so many people here own a mobile phone then? Everyone I know who owns one says it's so they can be reached anywhere. The phones themselves are quite cheap too. I don't know what the going rate in the US is, but $75 gets you a nice phone over here.

Re:Not only the japanese (2, Informative)

throwaway18 (521472) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797349)

Indeed, until it broke reccently I could happily read slashdot on the bus to work on the half-vga screen on my my nokia 9110. I used the built in browser for that as the charges go from E0.03/min to E0.40/min at 8am. Off peak I telnet (with s/key one time passwords) to my home PC and use lynx, IRC from the pub etc. I not sure wether to get it repaired to to pay less for a second hand one off ebay with no guarantee. I can't manage without an electronic organiser/nagging device to tell me I should have bee somewhere five minutes ago but I'm not going to carry one and a phone.

When I was in the states last year I was amazed to find I could not buy a pay-as-you-talk mobile for less than USD200. I wanted one to use for ten days then bin when I left. Here they are E45 from newsagents. Amazingly in the USA you have to pay
for incoming calls to mobiles!! The mobiles have normal numbers mixed in with landlines so you don't know if you a phoning one or not.

There's a reason for all of this... (4, Insightful)

IronTek (153138) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797200)

Everytime I read how behind the United States is compared to Finland, Japan, etc., it upsets me that one simple concept is rarely, if ever, mentioned..

The United States has a very, very, very large land mass compared to Japan or Finland, or any other country in Europe that has cooler cell phone technology than we do.

It's simply very, very expensive and time consuming for companies to roll out services that *might* get the public interested...

So while I would very much like to have video on my phone or simply be able to buy a Dr Pepper out of a soda machine, the sheer size of the United States makes it difficult for such widespread agreements on standards or progress in new technology...

Re:There's a reason for all of this... (-1, Offtopic)

fuck you, clown! (588274) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797217)

you know, we're trying to troll here. it really doesn't help if fucknuts like you are going to be on topic, insightful, etc.

Re:There's a reason for all of this... (1)

knuu (449167) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797270)

YHBT.

Re:There's a reason for all of this... (-1, Offtopic)

fuck you, clown! (588274) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797395)

IHL?

Re:There's a reason for all of this... (1)

LeftOfCentre (539344) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797228)

I would think cell phone usage is relatively similar throughout the EU. If I'm not mistaken, the population density of the US is about one third of that of the EU which is a big but maybe not a huge difference. I think you're on to something, but I wonder if it's really a significant reason for why the US has lagged behind in this area.

Re:There's a reason for all of this... (2, Interesting)

Heghta' (246911) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797247)

Yes, compared to Finland, the US of A have a very big landmass. But compared to Finland, they also have a lot more inhabitants. So what really counts is the population density. I don'T have the numbers, but I don't think the difference will be very big then.

I think the 3 countries in the world with the biggest cell phone usage (as by percentage of ppl owning a cell phone) are Sweden, Finland and Austria. Both Sweden and Finland are only lightly populated in their northern parts, and Austria is covered by a lot of mountains. I've been to two of these countries, namely Sweden and Austria, and the networks are great. Even at the top of some mountain, you have clear quality.

The neat thing, however, is the pricing, this is where some countries are really ahead. For example, if you are a company, some providers don't charge at all for calls within the company, all you pay is the monthly fee. That's really a big advantage for companies.

There are even similar offerings for private persons, ie, an Austrian provider let's you phone within their network for free during night hours if you've charged your prepad phone with at least 25 within the last 30 days.

your numbers (3, Insightful)

mattdm (1931) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797363)

July 2001 est. population density (people per sq/km of land):

Finland: 16.9
Sweden: 21.6
Japan: 415.0
US: 30.4

Of course, as you say, the density of major urban areas is in many ways more important than overall density. But it's still worth noting the difference in Japan -- I'd count a 13.7x difference as significant enough to have an effect.

i would have to agree with you... (2)

gimpboy (34912) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797252)

another thing to consider is that we really dont need all the extra crap:

"I'm very disappointed to see that the majority of phones in the U.S. are black and white and four lines (of text)," said Satoshi Nakajima, chief executive officer of UIEvolution, a Bellevue company that develops software for Japanese wireless companies. "Then you'll never succeed."


well it depends on how you define success. if you define success as video at 1fps, then yes we will never succeed. if you are trying to give people phone access, then four lines of text are enough to succeed. personally i dont want a hot pink phone, with a hello kitty theme and a ringer that playes the theme from shaft. i really dont need the aformentioned phone with streaming video.. it's simply not necessary... for me.

just because someone has different needs doesnt mean the have failed. i guess you could say linux has failed since it's not running on the hello kitty phone.. i would say it's a success since it runs my webserver very well.

Re:i would have to agree with you... (2)

handsomepete (561396) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797293)

"just because someone has different needs doesnt mean the have failed."

I agree with that completely. The whole tone of that article is that the U.S. is failing to keep up with Japan when in fact we don't have the need to keep up. Our phones work just fine. We don't need LCD displays that can show DivX movies downloaded from ph0n3.l33t-pr0n.net. I don't own a cell phone only because I don't need one, but I know that they can be very useful in emergencies and for business. People tend to forget that there was a time not very long ago when there were no cell phones. We still got along fine. I would argue that anything beyond standard phone/pager functionality is extra and not necessary for anyone. Just my opinion.

Re:i would have to agree with you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797302)

640Kb ought to be enough...

Re:i would have to agree with you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797336)

People tend to forget that there was a time not very long ago when there were no cell phones. We still got along fine. I would argue that anything beyond standard phone/pager functionality is extra and not necessary for anyone.

What a dumb ass argument. We got along just fine without computers too. Yet we both used one to post these messages.

Gee, could it be that people just like to communicate with each other. Technologies that enable more communication, easier communication, new forms of communication become popular.

Imagine that.

Re:i would have to agree with you... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797351)

ROTFL ! Those guys pretend they don't want one while reading Slashdot ! LOL. Poor little jealous yanks.

Re:There's a reason for all of this... (2, Insightful)

IronTek (153138) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797286)

Well, most of you bring up interesting points about population density, but don't forget...in many parts of the country, the population isn't all that dense...yet to get nationwide coverage, you still have to build cell towers/stations every couple of miles...thus, we're back to the sheer size of the United States being a large problem...

Re:There's a reason for all of this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797314)

Well since a major US city has a larger population than Finland (and the city area is much more densely populated, Finland is about the size of Montana) then how come you can't get a cool mobile technology in a single city even?

Re:There's a reason for all of this... (1, Flamebait)

MisterBlister (539957) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797365)

Because nobody wants a cellphone that only works within a single city, jackass. They want a phone that works anywhere in the US.

Re:There's a reason for all of this... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797393)

Umm... dumbass,

do you think all these other countries instantly built a nation wide coverage?

fucking moron

Re:There's a reason for all of this... (5, Insightful)

EvilNTUser (573674) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797338)

The United States has a very, very, very large land mass compared to Japan or Finland, or any other country in Europe that has cooler cell phone technology than we do.

IMHO that's not the issue. First of all, Finland has a population of roughly five million with a density of about 17 people per square kilometer.

Why's that important? Because if these services can be rolled out (profitably) in Finland, then the following technique could be used in the US:

1. Define one single national standard.
2. Try it out in one city that has an insane population density.
3. If it's profitable, start expanding to other places based on the already defined national standard. Each and every company could compete using the same standard.

Instead, this is what I think has happened:

1. Company A decides to implement a standard of its own for voice calls. Company B does the same.
2. Very few people buy phones because of major interoperability issues. (This is not the case in Finland, to continue using it as an example. A Finnish GSM phone will work anywhere in Europe, and around most of the world. Virtually everyone has one.)
3. Because of the slow growth, a mobile phone culture hasn't yet formed in the U.S, slowing down the growth even more. Thus operators have less resources to implement new features, and even if they did they'd probably be proprietary, worsening the already bad situation.

What we need is a worldwide standard that everyone would adhere to. What we have now is a bunch of companies trying to out-Microsoft each other. And yes, I do realize that's easier said than done, but it should at least be given some thought.

Re:There's a reason for all of this... (2)

rcs1000 (462363) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797356)

There is another reason (and a half) too.

In Europe we have one digital cellular technology: GSM. This means that I can use my phone on any network. The R&D cost per phone is lowered and the competition is increased.

To some extent, I believe, the same is true in Japan, with J-Phone and DoCoMo sharing the same technology. (And with DoCoMo being, by a mile, the largest cell phone company in the world.)

If, in the UK, I wish to change my operator, I can go to one of the other three 'real' operators or one of a couple of virtual ones (which lease capacity off the real networks.) This has created price and service competition. That I can take my number with me between operators helps too.

And the 'half'... easy, I don't pay to recieve calls. There is no incentive, other that avoiding my ex-girlfriend, to turn my phone off.

*r

Re:There's a reason for all of this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797402)

Here's an incentive. You're sitting in a lecture, theater, restaurant, etc.

Re:There's a reason for all of this... (2)

ywwg (20925) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797358)

except now the entire rest of the world -- asia, europe, australia, have better phone systems than the US. So while individual countries may be small, the sum is a much much larger landmass with much much better phones.

Re:There's a reason for all of this... (1)

IronTek (153138) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797400)

yes, this might be true, but I'm fairly sure you can't get very good cell phone reception for the parts of Australia where there isn't anyone!

Further, Europe as a whole might be larger, but their are many nations in it, all largely responsible for their own success with cellular technology...that and they only have one standard for the whole continent!

Re:There's a reason for all of this... (2)

kevin lyda (4803) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797372)

that's crap.

mobile phone technology hasn't succeeded in america because american wireless operators have failed to understand the benefits of a standard. the fact is that my gsm phone will work around the developed world (and some days i feel the need to explicitly include the words "and here in ireland..."). if i see a good deal on a newer mobile phone i can buy it and take my gsm chip out of my old phone and stick it in my new phone. i can easily send text messages to my friends with no concern as to who their network provider is. i can take a call without worrying about how much it will cost me.

mobile phone technology is archaic, fractured, poor, and a national disgrace. the wireless companies in america were short-sighted and greedy. the best thing that could happen to them (at least for the american people) would be for european and other wireless providers to come in, buy them, and sort them all out.

Re:There's a reason for all of this... (1)

orangedude (453872) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797389)

Quite frankly, as someone in Japan, the main reason that we won't have al these funky features in the US is that we drive everwhere (Major cities excepted of course) whereas in Japan, they take the train. Can you imagine trying to type in a love letter to some girlfiend on the New Jersey Turnpike at 80 mph??

Let's make a distinction (4, Insightful)

Joel Ironstone (161342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797206)

Meanwhile, a working dad in Japan gets to watch his son grow up.

Yes, I suppose in 128x128 resolution at 1 frame per second. But in north america and europe where the working week is 60 hours a week, the father (or mother) can actually watch the child and maybe offer a helping hand. Instead of admire a pixelated version.

Perhaps this phenemonon can explain the adoption gap. If we have more time to spend with the ones we love, we don't need to purchase technological replacements for this contact.

Just a thought.

Re:Let's make a distinction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797253)

Actually, in most of Europe, it's under 50 (40 in some countries).

Offtopic: working 60 hours a week (1)

Mister Proper (567223) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797295)

Joel Ironstone wrote:
But in north america and europe where the working week is 60 hours a week, the father (or mother) can actually watch the child and maybe offer a helping hand.
An Anonymous Coward replied to that with:
Actually, in most of Europe, it's under 50 (40 in some countries).
How the heck do you work 60 hours per week? Concidering a 5-day work week that would mean working 12 hours a day.

For the record, here in Belgium people work only 39 hours a week.

Re:Offtopic: working 60 hours a week (2)

Joel Ironstone (161342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797317)

In Japan and Hong Kong it is very common to work at least half a day on saturday, and many people don't return home from office jobs until 8:30.

Re:Offtopic: working 60 hours a week (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797378)

The 'handon' (half-day) concept went out of fashion in Japan in the early 80s. These days, almost all companies give the whole weekend off.

Re:Offtopic: working 60 hours a week (2)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797327)

and it's 40 hours in north america, 44 tops, then it's overtime.

Re:Let's make a distinction (1)

jxg (556482) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797353)

You do know that the average work week in the United States is the highest in the world, even longer than the Japanese, don't you?

France in particular has a mandatory 35-hour week.

To forestall any comments (3, Insightful)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797209)

I always see a ton of trolls talking about how cell phones give us cancer and I'd like to post some real, science-based information to forestall the inevitable tide. We are right to be skeptical of outrageous claims like "my cell phone gave me cancer" and I applaud the many geeks who, in this story and others, have stood up to suspected pseudo-science and brought to bear a modicum of scientific knowledge.

However, there are significant reasons to believe the claim is true in this case. For instance, consider electric fields. You may not be aware of this or have thought of it this way, but a microwave oven is basically just a big, unmodulated radio station broadcasting in the microwave band instead of the radio band. And what do we use microwave ovens for? Cooking things.

And microwaves, like all electromagnetic radiation, are caused by what? Electric fields. And a major source of electric fields and broadcast power is what? Cell phones. And we put cell phones where? Next to our genitals and next to our brains[1].

So, while I love my personal computer, SUV, air-conditioning and other marvels of modern life I Just Say No to cancer-causing cell phones.

[1] For me this is two separate locations, YMMV

Re:To forestall any comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797254)

Not all electromagnetic waves are created equally. Sure if a cell phone broadcast in the part of the spectrum consisting of microwaves, we might have a big problem sticking them next to our water-logged brains. If radio carried as big a risk of cancer as gamma (both of them are electromagnetic radiation) then we'd all be dead from radio stations.

Re:To forestall any comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797306)

YHBT. "PhysicsGenius" may not specialize in Portman or goatsx.ce posts, but he's a troll nontheless.

I love you! (-1)

egg troll (515396) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797268)

I am in awe of your talents. I bow to your mastery.

Re:To forestall any comments (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797384)

Funny!

Price Price Price (1)

kawaichan (527006) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797211)

Sure the feature sucks, but I am even willing to look past that, but that I don't like is the price of the calls in US and Canada.

Until they could lower the prices down to penny/minute, I just don't see how wireless will ever take off here.

Hey, if it's cheap enough, people will be using the cell phone whereever they are without worrying about the cost of the call.

Land line costs are insane in Japan (5, Informative)

case_igl (103589) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797212)

My aunt lived in Japan for two years. From what she said, and this article mentions, is that getting a land line phone is very expensive.

The article quotes $700, but if I recall my aunt mentioned it was more than that. Additionally, the waiting list to get a telephone was months and months long.

So, to me, it's no surprise that Japanese are using cell phones for both voice and data more than US counterparts. A big chunk of people there simply can't even make a call from home. So they are used to using their cell phones more than your average American.

I think geography has something to do with it as well. Japan has a much higher population density than the US, so it's easier for the providers. You don't need to erect as many towers to cover the same number of people.
Installing and upgrading cell towers to support higher speed data services costs a fortune, so I'm not surprised it's not happening faster in the US. You'd need thousands of towers in Japan, compared to tens of thousands here.

Case

Re:Land line costs are insane in Japan (1)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797271)

If someone in your family has a land line and dies, you can continue using the land line contract and have a phone installed in a new location. You can end your contract at any time and get some percentage of the 70000 yen "deposit" back, but many families opt to keep the contract open and give it to their kids when they finally move out of the house.

Re:Land line costs are insane in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797333)

Almost nobody pays that fee and waits on a list though. You can do private transfers to get phone service and the cost is probably around a quarter of that with no waiting. Still a real scam by the telephone co though.

Re:Land line costs are insane in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797344)

Bzzzzt! Wrong!

Landlines certainly do not cost $700 or is the waiting list months and months long in most countries where cell phones are most popular.

Try again.

Re:Land line costs are insane in Japan (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797361)

Your aunt was slightly misinformed, I think...

A land line in Japan used to cost ~65000 yen (around $US540) if you bought the line right from NTT; however, most people buy their line right from a broker at a discount - 55000-60000 yen ($US450-500).

In addition, these days NTT offers a deal where your monthly fees are higher, but you pay a lot less for the line right (I haven't had to buy a new line right for the last twelve years, so I don't know how much it costs for that option).

As for the 'months and months' you have to wait to get a new line... figure about five days normally, two weeks max.

GSM is the answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797218)

Europeans and asians have managed to agree in a standard - GSM.

Unlink the americans' networks

Well actually.... (1)

EvilDrew (523879) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797330)

Yes, Europe and most of the Asian land mass are using GSM as a standard on either 900MHz or 1800MHz, however Japan didn't go with GSM. They opted for PDC (Personal Digital Cellular) waaaay before any of us had digital cell phones becuase of the staggering population density. They needed to be able to get more calls onto one channel than analogue could provide.

Also, VoiceStream here in the USA is using a GSM network, but unfortunately it resides on the 1900MHz band, so we all have to have tri-mode phones just to be able to use one handset worldwide. If I have heard correctly, AT&T and Cingular are switching from their TDMA based networks to GSM (part of AT&T's $5 billion dollar budget this year) because TDMA didn't have the capacity they were hoping for. (Cingular is already GSM in California and Nevada because of their acquisition of PacBell.)

Despite what the article says, I like to think that my phone [nokiausa.com] is pretty cool.

Just my $0.02.

cell phones (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797221)

while I don't see anything inherently wrong here, it's just a simple matter of attitude for me: the value of personal privacy far outweighs the potential benefits of "anytime, anywhere" connectivity. That's really a personal decision, so as the article (correctly) points out, this may just be indicative of some large cultural differences.

Five rules to successfully owning a cellphone (5, Insightful)

Audent (35893) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797223)

It's simple: in Japan, Europe, Australia, New Zealand etc... you only pay to call someone, not to receive a call. I understand most Americans are reluctant to give out their cellphone numbers because you pay to receive calls as well.
This is stupid.
Also, the US has a large culture of pager use that just hasn't taken off anywhere else in the world. We have cellphones with SMS capability to do the same thing. Forget combining the two products - they're already combined.

There are five stages to owning a mobile phone: This presumes you've got one to make use of it, not to just so you can say you have one.
1: Buy the phone. Many people think this is the only thing they have to do. It's not.
2: Carry the damned thing with you everywhere. Most fall over at this point because they do things like only carry the phone to work or whatever - if it's not with you AT ALL TIMES then people won't get used to reaching you on it. This stage is tricky because you carry it everywhere even when it doesn't ring, and it won't for ages until:
3: Don't be afraid to give out your number to everyone. EVERYONE. Once you've done this you'll actually start receiving calls - it's only at this point you'll be seeing the benefit of having the phone.
4: Don't be afraid to MAKE calls on your phone. The more you use it the more you'll be contacted on your phone.

Re:Five rules to successfully owning a cellphone (2, Insightful)

kawaichan (527006) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797249)

With 33cents a minute, who on earth would try to make a call unless it's absolutely necessary? problems with US and Canadian wirless are:

1) Cost - If calls are cheap enough, then more and more people will have phones.
2) Availability - If it's cheap enough, more people would have cellphones with them then I might need one too (domino effect)
3) Cheaper data services, more flexable service plans etc. might help too.

Re:Five rules to successfully owning a cellphone (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797379)

Cack cack cack cack! Cack!

Re:Five rules to successfully owning a cellphone (2)

GrandCow (229565) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797362)

You forgot rule #5: Talk on the phone while sitting on the crapper, drop phone in toilet, curse loudly.

Pagers (1)

jimmyCarter (56088) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797399)

.. are dying a slow death. Maybe I live and work in a pager-free zone, but can anyone else remember the last time they saw two different pagers in one week? Oh, and middle/high schools don't count.

The rest of the world (4, Insightful)

waimate (147056) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797227)

Ignoring glizty features like clunky video, and just talking about the ability to make and receive phone calls, pretty much the whole world is way ahead of the US in mobile telephones.

And the "large country" argument doesn't hold water. Mobile telephony in Australia is a generation ahead of the US, and we're about the same land mass with one fifteenth the population. Ok, coverage ain't great in the middle, but you can make a phone call in Melbourne, and hold the same connection while you drive 4000km to Cape York.

I once stood on the ancient Greek island of Delos which was once the centre of the known universe, and received a mobile phone call from someone back home in Oz who'd just dialed my regular number. Awesome.

Re:The rest of the world (2, Interesting)

thogard (43403) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797343)

Keep in mind that Melbourne has more people than Chicago. It is a higer density city than most in the US. I can drive 20 minutes in any direction from the CBD (downtown) and find many places where GSM coverage is poor non-existant. Australia needed MAPS (old analog) for the rural areas but they pulled it out and replaced it with a worthless CDMA system which provides much less coverage in rural areas. The population density of Australia seems to be a mix between very high (like in Europe, not high for Aisa) or none (like most of the outback). There are very few areas that have medium or low density of people unlike the midwest US where there are vast tracks of land with lots of little setlements spread all around.

Behind? (2, Informative)

huckda (398277) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797230)

No, we are not "behind" in technology, we are RESTRICTED...

FACT...anyone can go to Japan/Europe/etc. and purchase any of the equipment, but good luck getting the FCC permission to implement it, even for a local market.

The United States is not behind in technology, be 'merely'(I say tongue in cheek) restricted in the area of what technology they are ALLOWED to use.

--Huck

Re:Behind? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797360)

Oh! What a very PC way of telling you're technologically 5 years late !

Brain Cancer (0, Flamebait)

herbierobinson (183222) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797233)

I wonder what effect this is having on the brain cancer rate in Japan?

Charges for Data suck (2)

weave (48069) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797234)

Whenever a U.S. carrier comes out with a data service, they charge ridiculous rates to use it. Either airtime (for wap browsing on verizon) or some insane per Kilobyte fee for data. Plus the speed sucks too bad to use it for much more than text...

Re:Charges for Data suck (1)

pcardoso (132954) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797347)

slightly off-topic, but....

As it is, Wap is worthless. It would be useful, if the prices weren't ridiculous ( 0.18/minute in vodafone/portugal), the content wasn't so scarce and I could access wapsites that are not in vodafone's domain.

I'm using a new nokia 8310 with GPRS, and there is a campaign about GPRS that let's me use wap for free.. It's something nice to have, but I wouldn't be using it if I had to pay those 18 cents.

Now for something stupid: I can make data calls using a laptop or a palm with this phone, and the price is 1.5 per hour. Ok, so it's only 9600bps (or 14400, I'm not sure), but I can access real websites, ssh/ftp home, use IRC, and even download mp3s (well.. If I really had the need to), on a real computer, with a big screen and a keyboard...

WAP: A fraction of the content for 10 times the cost.... The operators sold wap extremely overpriced, and it hasn't caught on. Had they priced accordingly to the content, and it would caught on...

Now the craze is all about MMS (multimedia messages).. I wonder about the prices for that, because if they treat this like wap, it will soon go the same way.

more like GSM vs U.S. fsck up (2)

johnjones (14274) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797262)

the rest of the world uses 1 yes ONE way and the good ol US of A are stuck useing anouther demand that your network use GSM !

regards

john 'no its not broken' jones

Re:more like GSM vs U.S. fsck up (2)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797290)

hmm.
http://www.voicestream.com/
http://www.attw s.com/mobileinternet/
http://www.gsmworld.com/roa ming/gsminfo/cou_us.sht ml
http://www.cingular.com/

There's a LOT of GSM in the USA.

Re:more like GSM vs U.S. fsck up (2)

evilned (146392) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797326)

One small problem, it is GSM, but its not the same frequency as the rest of the world. I have heard of dual frequency GSM phones that can do both US and the rest of the world GSM, but I havent seen them myself.

Re:more like GSM vs U.S. fsck up (2)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797368)

world phones. T68i. There's a LOT of em. The only reason we don't use the same frequency as the rest of the world is the damn military.

Re:more like GSM vs U.S. fsck up (2)

ywwg (20925) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797370)

most of the world uses 1800/900 GSM, you just have to find a phone (marketed abroad as "world phones") that also work on the 1900 GSM system -- the US version. www.gsmarena.com has a bunch.

Re:more like GSM vs U.S. fsck up (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797392)

Er.... that's kind of strange, because Japan doesn't have any GSM phones at all... ;)

how expensive is home Internet? (3, Insightful)

ryantate (97606) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797263)

Some say that many Japanese have turned to wireless phones because a residential phone line costs $700 to install. While that explains the quick adoption of mobile phones for voice calls, it doesn't explain the embrace of data services.

Umm, except that in most countries people get online and access "data services" through the telephone network. If it is prohibitively expensive to access the Internet from home, due to setup and/or per-minute/per-month charges, it makes sense that people spend more time sending e-mail and accessing information from their phones rather than from home PCs. I don't know if this is the case, but I would like to have seen it addressed in the article.

I know at $700 I would not be ready to add a second phone line for the Net and I don't know how far along the broadband rollout is over there.

Re:how expensive is home Internet? (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797407)

Um... ADSL works fine on the same line as your voice phone, and Japan's ADSL adoption rate is massive at the moment.

It's that time again! Everyone POLKA!! (-1)

Linus Turdballs (558038) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797277)

THE TROLL POLKA (ARSCHFICKEN MIT ZIEGEN)
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____________________

Change Log:

  • Subtle changes to most verses. It sounded really gay before.
  • Removed all references to Tacos pud. May have been high at time. Will investigate further.
  • Finally think I have goat sex written correctly in German. I think. Arschficken?

© 2002 Serial Troller. Permission to reproduce this document is granted provided that you send all the bukkake porn you can find to serialtroller@hotmail.com [mailto] .

Re:It's that time again! Everyone POLKA!! (-1)

Anonymous Pancake (458864) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797367)

fucking brilliant

Sigh (2)

bogie (31020) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797279)

"the Japanese kick Americans' butts when it comes to wireless cell phone technology and usage"

This of course would imply that being 24/7 connected to everyone and the internet is somehow a "good thing". Personally I think its a flaw. Don't get me wrong I think the idea of streaming video and web surfing is cool on a phone, its just that in the scheme of things I don't think this is some sort of great positive influence on society.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797294)

I never really understand this argument. If there is a time when you don't want to be available, turn off your phone or just don't take it with you. If this is such a big deal, then don't even buy a mobile phone.

70000 yen, Japan, and fees (1)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797284)

You think 700 dollars for a land phone line is expensive?..

Anyone want to rant about the reikin system?

There are other reasons not mentioned (5, Insightful)

Ethelred Unraed (32954) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797288)

The biggest reason why cellphones have not taken off in the US in comparison to Europe, at least, is simply price -- or in particular the *way* they are priced.

In Germany (and, I believe, in most other European countries), cellphones are charged exactly the same way a fixed-line phone is charged. You pay a basic monthly fee, and you pay per second or 10 seconds for calls you make. There are no "airtime" fees or other gotchas. The rates are also easy to understand, more or less -- for a call within your provider's network, you pay a "local" call; calls within your country are "long-distance"; and calls outside of your country are international. Quite rational.

My provider also has the added perk that I can choose either five fixed-line numbers or one area code to get discounted calls. So if I choose Berlin's area code -- 030 -- I can call anyone in Berlin for a much lower rate.

In comparison, my family in the States has a blizzard of confusing fee schedules, with plenty of "gotchas" built-in.

Another problem is the lack of standards across the States. Europe has the GSM standard, and your phone will work across nearly all of Europe. The USA has no such common standard, and even if you're smart enough to get a dual-band or tri-band cellphone, you get hammered on the roaming charges in the States.

I'm actually not that much of a fan of cellphones-as-portals, though -- WAP seems such an abortion of an idea and so far navigating the Web with a keypad is just a non-starter (and, like the article says, Americans tend to drive and not take public transport, so they have less time to fiddle with the things). But it is often a nice option to have. I use it to check what movies are playing (and to reserve tix), check train times (OK, that's not too useful in the States ;-P ) and sometimes to check the news, but that's about it -- I would never buy anything with it, because the technology is so far rather insecure.

i-Mode was also recently introduced in Germany by my provider (they licensed the technology from NTT-DoCoMo), so Europe is close to Japan's level now, though it remains to be seen if i-Mode and other 2.5G technologies take off in Europe (let alone 3G).

GPRS and HSCSD are also well-established, so I can go online at 56K digital with my Nokia and Powerbook via infrared and OS X (haven't gotten it to work with Linux, tho). GPRS is *very* expensive, though -- 2.5 Eurocents per 1K of data -- but HSCSD is fairly reasonable (why the difference, I don't know -- both give you the same speed AFAIK).

Cheers,

Ethelred [grantham.de]

Re:There are other reasons not mentioned (2)

sheldon (2322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797387)

I guess I'm somewhat confused by the fee schedule.

I have a Voicestream phone... er I mean Deutsche-Telekom... er I mean T-Mobile... here in the states. For US$40/month I get 600 minutes during the work week and unlimited on weekends.

I get free long distance, and if I stay within GSM providers I get free roaming.

Now, yes... the US is a large country and we don't have 100% coverage on any given standard. Generally only in the major metro areas and along connecting interstates.

Simple (3, Insightful)

The Cat (19816) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797301)

They don't lay off their staff every six months.

Having someone around who actually knows how to build something is important to the empire-building, plant-watering donut list and their bonuses.

Japan in particular probably has a much better developed sense of loyalty and business ethics as well. Of course, the suits will disagree, but when was the last $4 billion "accounting error" in Japan?

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797318)

At least 1997 [ucsc.edu]

Not This Boring "Story" Again (2, Insightful)

tealover (187148) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797303)

*sigh*

Why do seemingly well-intentioned and intelligent people assume that distinct and different cultures should enjoy a technological homogoneity?

Is it that difficult to understand that not everything that works for Americans works for Japanese or Europeans? There are many factors that determine which technologies thrive in different countries. This article both acknowledges these difrerences and at the same time dismisses them. Why? Probably because a rationale article doesn't pay the bills for a freelance writer compared to a doom and gloom article.

The Japanese like their cellphones? Good for them. I like my broadband connection.

Broadband in Japan (1)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797332)

10% ain't bad [news.com.au]

He's got to, got to, go -- Godzilla! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797321)

If your cities were invaded and devastated by giant monsters as much as they are, you'd have a cell phone too. Think about what a giant reptile rampaging about does to the power and phone grids.

With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797383)

he pulls the spitting high tension wires down

Data point... (3, Insightful)

march (215947) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797335)

Two years ago when I was in Tokyo, we were giving a demo with our Japanese counterparts to a financial instutution there.

The demos were given at 120k bps over a cell phone that flipped open and plugged into a pcmcia slot in our laptop.

That freakin' rocked. We (USA) didn't have anything even close.

Them's Crazy! (1)

OutRigged (573843) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797350)

Them Japanese is crazy!!

If you want cute - they do kick our ass (1)

Gil Da Janus (586153) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797354)

But if all you want is just a frelling phone - even the Nokia 6160 I use every day has too many features that I never use.

I want just a phone - nothing else. An address book and a few call management features - all of the rest is just fluff.

If I want a data cell phone - then sell me one - not a bad music box, piss poor video, and can I say fragile - where do they test these new objects - in *pink* marsh mellow rooms - give me a frelling break.

The cell phone crowd is going to learn the hard way - too many features with a big monthly bill - no buyers - or so few, they will loose not only their shirts but their socks and underware too.

Gil

cell phones (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3797359)

Funky cell phones are popular in Japan for the same reason they have panties in vending machines- the Japanese like crazy shit! Just because you can add extra features to a cell phone doesn't mean you should.

Recent studies (1)

MagPulse (316) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797373)

Now we know who to watch as they grow up for signs of brain damage [yahoo.com] , though it probably won't be cancer [yahoo.com] .

How much do they pay TOTAL? (2, Insightful)

httpamphibio.us (579491) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797391)

This article doesn't mention how much they pay all together, and what sorts of services their plans offer. All the plans here have some downfall: not enough daytime minutes, nasty long distance charges, exorbitant roaming, etc. Pick one or two of those and you have basically every plan. Anyone know?

But but... we have the smartphone... (1)

darekana (205478) | more than 12 years ago | (#3797397)

from Microsoft [microsoft.com] with lots of pretty colors. Nevermind I guess we don't have it yet. And SourceForge ads... they don't have enough of those in Japan. And they imitate movies... see... its clever. At least the first few hundred times i saw it I thought it was clever.

And the real reason the japanese phones are so popular is because they have all these spiffy picture characters you can use [nttdocomo.co.jp] .
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