Docomo, Japan’s largest mobile operator, and Line, the most popular mobile messaging app in Japan right now, are forming a partnership to offer collaborative services for their Japanese customers. Two apps will be developed under their collaboration, one for the Raku Raku smartphone range and the other for Docomo customers that use Line for Android.
The first app to be developed is for the senior citizen market of the Raku Raku smartphone range so they can be able to understand the services and they are enrolled in and limit their transactions to avoid bill shock and too much spending on virtual goods. It is targeted to launch by end of 2013. By September 13, the second app will be launched, this time for Android users of the Line app. They will have a dedicated button for calls on Docomo’s 4G LTE network, named Xi (pronounced “crossy”), which already has 10 million subscribers by February this year. This will allow the Xi customers to call other 4G users without additional charges. The partnership also targets to reduce the large amounts of data from messaging apps to avoid clogging the operators’ network.
This is Docomo’s second major announcement after it revealed a 50 million dollar investment in electronics manufacturer Pioneer for intelligent transport systems (ITS), bringing its mobile networking capabilities to enhance Pioneer’s in-car navigation telematics technologies. The deal also gives Docomo a 7% share in the company.
Line continues to strengthen its brand as it reached more than 45 million users in Japan alone, bringing its worldwide number to 150 million registered users. A testament to its massive popularity is that 10 of Japan’s political parties have opened accounts here, ever since the ban on Internet campaigning for elections was lifted. They have brought in 58 million dollars in revenue in the first quarter of 2013 via its gaming platform and they plan to create music and shopping platforms as well.
[ via The Next Web ]