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Japanese Wi-Fi/Cellular Phone Ships

NTT DoCoMo Inc. on Tuesday started selling what one analyst called the "world's first commercially available" combination Wi-Fi/cellular phone.
MANHASSET, N.Y. — NTT DoCoMo Inc. on Tuesday (Nov. 16) started selling what one analyst called the "world's first commercially available" combination Wi-Fi/cellular phone.

The N900iL, which went on sale in Japan, is a dual-network handset that supports a 3G FOMA cellular network and wireless local area networks based on Wi-Fi standards, the Tokyo-based telecom company said.

The phone is designed to act as a standard FOMA phone, while also capable of placing voice over Internet Protocol calls over a wireless network. Optional settings enable users to receive calls only over FOMA or a wireless LAN, or both.

Standard phone functions, such as call hold and call transfer, are available over Wi-Fi, as well as added features, such as instant messaging.

Albert Lin, analyst for American Technology Research in San Francisco, said the DoCoMo phone was the "world's first commercially available combo Wi-Fi/cell phone."

"We have been big proponents of Wi-Fi becoming a major standard, and the combo phone has been the largest market opportunity in our view," Lin said in a research note.

Adding Wi-Fi support to cellular phones provides access to Internet services that could come from carriers or corporate networks.

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