VeriSign lets digits access Japan's mobile Internet

VeriSign will tie up with a Japanese company to bring in a new service aimed at simplifying access for Japan's wireless Internet users, the local partner J-Data Co. Ltd. announced Tuesday.

VeriSign has developed a system called WebNum which allows mobile phone users to access Web sites customized for wireless Internet by entering a number of between one and seven digits from mobile phone handsets, rather than spelling out the URL using the handset's keypad.

"There have been complaints from mobile phone users that it is difficult for them to access the Web sites," said a J-Data spokesman who declined to give his name. "Entering digits is easy and something a cell phone is designed for."

J-Data, an Internet service company, will create two kinds of number code, one for companies which hope their Web sites will be accessed from abroad as well as locally, and one which is accessible only within Japan, the J-Data spokesman said.

J-Data will market the service to corporations that have Web sites on wireless Internet from the second quarter next year, he said. VeriSign, hoping to make a mark in the wireless Internet sector, also plans to enter the South Korean market around the same time and then expand the service globally, a company statement said.

J-Data is in talks with NTT DoCoMo Inc. and KDDI Corp. for the service to be listed in their service menu pages, he said. The company hopes to receive 10,000 subscriptions from corporations for the first year.