NTT DoCoMo and Twitter announce partnership

NTT DoCoMo has announced a deal with Twitter that will see the pair working on the development of location-based and other mobile services. According to DoCoMo, one of the envisioned services will “bring richer search results” to users through the use of Real-Time Tweets; other content from the microblogging site will be incorporated into search results on the telco’s “i-mode” portal for feature phones. Smartphone users will access similar services on the “docomo market” portal.

DoCoMo also announced plans to update its existing “touch and follow” application that allows NFC-capable phone users to exchange Twitter following permissions by placing their handsets together. DoCoMo says it expects to launch the service for feature phone users this summer. Smartphone users will be able to use it later this year.

In addition to the announcement from DoCoMo, Japan’s Nikkei newspaper is reporting that the two firms will combine anonymised keywords in Tweets to offer a new kind of real-time, location-based information service to users. Data will also be offered for sale to marketing companies.

NTT DoCoMo has a customer base of 58 million, making it Japan’s biggest mobile service provider. The move from Twitter to officially licence its content in such a big market could work well as part of its strategy to try to monetise the service in a country with more than 17 million Twitter users. According to research company Semiocast, Japanese is the second-most popular language used in the service, after English.

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