June 14, 2011

Japan to finally get cross-carrier SMS

If you were to say to someone from overseas: "Soon you will be able to send texts via SMS to anyone with a cellphone in Japan," they may ask, "What are you talking about? You mean you couldn't do it before?!" The Japan Times Online explains why you couldn't and how now this is changing.

quotemarksright.jpgOn June 1, Japanese cellphone carriers Docomo, KDDI, SoftBank Mobile and eAccess (Emobile) issued a joint press release, which announced that from July 13 their Short Message Services will be interconnected. The agreement was first announced in September 2009, so it has taken almost two years to implement.

The announcement means that all cellphone users, regardless of which service provider they are with, will be able to exchange SMS texts with people on other cellphone networks. Until now this is something that has been impossible in Japan.

In Japan, emails sent from cellphones have traditionally been a much more popular form of communication. Many users use a carrier-provided email address on email applications built into their cellphones.

The advantage of SMS is that you only need to know the receiver's phone number in order to send a message. Previously, however, in Japan you also needed to make sure that the person you were sending to was using the same carrier as you, which made SMS pretty inconvenient. However, SMS has been used by some people who had unlimited text packages on their plans and have friends or family on the same network.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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