Streaming 3G radio service begins in Japan

Usen, a cable radio operator turned multimedia contents provider, started a 4-channel streaming radio service in Japan on Monday via NTT DoCoMo's 3G network.

Usen, a cable radio operator turned multimedia contents provider, started a four-channel streaming radio service in Japan on Monday via the 3G (third generation) cell phone network of NTT DoCoMo.

The service is available at no cost to users of 19 models of NTT DoCoMo 3G handset as Usen will use the service to promote its ringtone download site, said Ami Okane, a Usen spokeswoman. Under the name of the song playing there are links that will take users to the download page for that song's ringtone.

To access "Docodemo Usen" users are required to download a Java radio player applet to their phones and are advised subscribe to NTT DoCoMo's flat-rate packet pricing pack, which costs YEN 3,900 (US$34) per month. Without flat-rate charging the service would cost about YEN 2,000 per minute to listen to, said Okane.

Usen's main business is the provision of a 300-plus channel cable radio service to shops, restaurants and other mainly commercial establishments. In the last year, the company has launched a no-cost portal that offers several channels of video to broadband Internet users in Japan.

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