Japanese companies, Microsoft plan wireless Internet connection

Sally Khudairi (sk@zotgroup.com)
Tue, 10 Aug 1999 07:12:46 -0400

Japanese companies, Microsoft plan wireless Internet connection

By Associated Press, 08/09/99

TOKYO - Japan's Softbank Co. said Monday it is in negotiations with
Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Microsoft Corp. on a joint venture in the
telecommunications area.

The comments follow a newspaper report that the three companies have
agreed/ in principle to set up a low-cost, wireless Internet connection

Softbank confirmed the talks but would not give details. An official at
Tokyo Electric Power, or TEPCO, also confirmed that the joint venture
is under consideration, but said details still were being discussed.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Monday that the firms will announce
the plan on Wednesday. The newspaper said the service would be launched
in the region around Tokyo in the middle of next year.

The companies would expand the network to other parts of the nation in
cooperation with other electric power providers, the newspaper reported.

To keep monthly connection fees lower, the joint venture will establish a
new Internet infrastructure rather than using the network of Nippon Telegraph
and Telephone Corp., the report said.

The partners are in the final phase of deciding the capitalization of the
venture, which is expected to be set at 10 billion yen ($87 million), the

Softbank will put up the majority of the capital, and Yahoo! Japan, a
subsidiary of the American company Yahoo! Inc., which provides an Internet
portal service, also plans to invest, it said.

The new company will provide a low-cost Internet connection service through
a wireless data transmission system. Users will be able to connect to the
Internet using wireless transmitters via relay base stations to be installed
utility poles owned by TEPCO.

Tokyo Telecommunication Network Co., an affiliate of TEPCO, will provide the
main network, the report said.

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Sally Khudairi . ZOT Group . http://www.zotgroup.com/
+1.617.818.0177 <sk@zotgroup.com>