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FOMA in Athens – Just Kidding

Posted on Wednesday 18 August 2004

I wonder who’ll take the heat for this one. Last month NTT DoCoMo issued a press release saying it would provide temporary 3G service in Athens for the convenience of its customers who travel there.

NTT DoCoMo, Inc. announced today that it will set up temporary 3G FOMA® base stations in Athens, Greece from July 30 to September 30, 2004 enabling FOMA subscribers attending the competition to enjoy the service with the same handsets they are currently using in Japan. DoCoMo expects a heavy influx of Japanese visitors to Athens during this period, providing a superb opportunity for DoCoMo to demonstrate its FOMA service in an international context.

The FOMA base stations set up within the city will be connected to DoCoMo’s FOMA network in Japan via a private international line. All FOMA subscribers visiting Athens will be able to use their current FOMA handsets at no extra charge for services such as voice calling, video calling, and i-mode® mobile internet inside the temporarily established service area in the city. All communication charges will be applied as if calls originated from Tokyo and were placed at Japan Standard Time.

Apparently the company felt no need to worry about details such as not having a license to use RF in Greece, much less a license to operate a cellular system there. Niggling little details like existing operators who might want to make a few drachmas on roaming fees or handset rentals were deemed no obstacle to showing off.

I suspect the Greek authorities and telecom regulators took exception to DoCoMo’s hubris, because the company yesterday scaled back its gradiose plans with another press release.

NTT DoCoMo Inc. has announced, with respect to the press release of July 16th, the clarification that FOMA services in Athens are available for demonstration purposes only, and not for commercial use.

The demonstration, whose area is limited to the Cosmote Pavillion in Thission, will conclude at 10:00 a.m. (Athens time) on August 30th 2004.


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