Japanese telecom NTT DoCoMo announced plans to start selling Research In Motion’s BlackBerry smartphones and service to individuals and small businesses beginning Aug. 1. The carrier has been selling BlackBerrys since 2006 to corporate clients beginning with English-only service and then launching service in Japanese in 2007.
In an announcement, NTT DoCoMo said it was offering the smartphones and service in response to requests “from individuals, as well as small to midsize businesses, who want a simple, convenient, low-cost system for Web browsing and e-mail.”
The service will offer a direct connection to the Internet without the need for a dedicated server. The first BlackBerry handset available to individuals will be the 8707h; it will be sold through the company’s Website, corporate business division and DoCoMo Shops’ corporate business sections. The BlackBerry Internet Service will cost $28.28 per month, with FOMA basic monthly fee and normal packet charges applied separately.
DoCoMo also will launch a discount packet-billing plan beginning Sept. 1, called the BlackBerry Data Transmission Package, which promises to enable users to transmit up to 80,000 packets of data per month for a flat charge of $15.60. Data exceeding this limit will be charged at less than a penny per packet.
DoCoMo said it will demonstrate the new BlackBerry Internet Service during Wireless Japan 2008 at Tokyo Big Sight from July 22 to 24.