tech

Message service Line entering carrier business in Japan

10 Comments
By YURI KAGEYAMA

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With few exceptions people commenting are not aware of the situation in Japan as far as mobile communications go. Line is huge here and probably >90% of users use or at least have Line installed on their smartphones. Any kid starting high school and not being in Line is considered outcast. It's the STANDARD here - period. I've heard it's popolar in Spain and Turkey as well, other European countries are more in Viber. But still as already said new carrier options at a lower price are welcome - why the bashing? Wish them luck and hopefully to make Japanese market even more competitive.. Next we need more carriers offering unlocked phones from the go. Step by step things are gettin better...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's clear to me that Japan is returning to its 'galapagos' ways - with telcos, software developers & OEM manufacturers focusing their energies inward. Users want unification, not fragmentation. The way Japan has handled the roll out of smartphones & other associated mobile technologies really shows that it has learnt absolutely nothing its past failings.

Let's face it, what's left of the Japanese tech industry just doesn't 'get' the mobile platform. LINE is looking to expand in 'siloed' market (ie. purely domestic) that is not growing.

The point I'm trying to make is - Docomo, Softbank & various others aren't investing in innovation - they're simply trying to create their own content platforms & media empires. LINE's just another in a long line of 'me too' Japanese companies in the tech space that is, in effect, on a road to nowhere. Zero innovation.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Didn't know you could do it without any apps like LINE, Skype etc. Can it access your LINE contacts list? Most people (even me to a point) have all their contacts contained within the app...

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LINE can do both voice calls as well as messages, using only the data (or WI-FI, for free).

You can do that on an iphone without any additional apps.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I know lots of younger people here in Tokyo that basically only use LINE, and maybe Twitter and Instagram, since LINE can do both voice calls as well as messages, using only the data (or WI-FI, for free). I reckon this new carrier is gonna be huge.

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GalapagosnoGairashu: "The cell phone zombies should be ecstatic at the prospect of a cheaper high from their mobile devices."

Heaven forbid there should be competition and we keep paying into Docomo, SoftBank, and AU's overpriced plans with no other options when they illegally all agree to push up prices together, right? Oh wait, that competition is happening already, despite said companies and people like yourself fighting against it. Actually, it's you guys -- those who don't want healthy competition -- who are the zombies and would rather stay with monopolistic power companies and carriers, because it's easier and you don't have to make choices that could benefit you.

I think the number of 'globally registered users' as over a billion is misleading in a lot of ways, as it makes it sound like a billion people are using LINE when they are very likely not. And outside of Asia it's practically unheard of. I like it, and use it, but only to an extent and as an alternative to emailing when I 'chat' with those people often. I still prefer certain functions on other chat apps that are more widely used in other nations, such as being able to see that another person is typing a message as they type it -- something LINE lacks and which can be annoying when you're having a back and forth.

In any case, what is the downfall here? For people who only use certain functions on their phones this provides them with a much cheaper carrier, and forces others to look at reducing costs to the consumer. I'd rather have the option and not choose it than have no options at all.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Sigh. Another new drug pusher has just moved into the block. The cell phone zombies should be ecstatic at the prospect of a cheaper high from their mobile devices.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Oh wow, and they are also launching a credit card company. They are doing massive business. Im sure facebook wants a piece of that action so I assume we will see a bid sometime this year.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Unfortunately, LINE is only really popular in Asia. Whats app overtakes it in the rest of the world. Wechat only in china. Wish we had one standard that could work across all these services so people can only use the one app that they personally like.

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LINE is most useful and popular for Japanese but in the world there are many social media, e.g. face book, twitter, wechat, whatsup and so on.

It seems that they have already started other services including mobile carrier so LINE can learn from them maybe.

For me, wechat is easy to use and it's very practical.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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