Nokia plays catch-up with rivals in Japan

Nokia will add public wireless LAN access to its handsets in Japan in a bid to keep pace with smaller Japanese rivals.

Nokia, the world's biggest handset maker, holds less than a 1 per cent market share in the world's most advanced handset market, controlled by makers such as Sharp, Panasonic and NEC.

Nokia will link a Local Area Network service to its X02NK handset it supplies to Japan's No.3 carrier Softbank Corp starting Friday, it said in a release on Wednesday.

Japan's top carrier NTT DoCoMo has equipped phones with local network connectivity since 2004, when it launched an NEC handset for corporate clients.

The lineup of connected phones this year includes Willcom's D4 handset made by Sharp and NTT DoCoMo's 906i series.

Faster Internet connections enable users to quickly download videos onto their phones and upload photos onto social networking sites.

Nokia supplies handsets to NTT DoCoMo as well as to Softbank.

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