NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest cellular service provider, announced plans Friday to step up its fight against junk mail in response to increasing pressure from its users.
Receiving unwanted e-mail through the company's I-mode service is now an everyday occurrence for a growing number of the company's 23.7 million customers that subscribe to the wireless Internet service. What's more, I-mode users have to pay for downloaded e-mail, making it all the more infuriating.
A newspaper advertising campaign that began in early May signaled DoCoMo's first steps towards fighting the flow of unwanted mail although, with the possible threat of government-imposed measures hanging over the company, it announced Friday further steps it plans to take.
The company said it is considering changing the default e-mail address it assigns to telephones. At present, the e-mail address of DoCoMo's handsets corresponds, by default, to the telephone number, for example "firstname.lastname@example.org." Users can change the address to something more personal although until they do so, they remain an easy target for spammers who send millions of messages to random numbers.
DoCoMo said it is considering introducing a new system from July whereby the default address will also include alphabetical characters.
Other technical measures include an increase from five to 10 in the number of e-mail addresses that can be blocked. A similar increase will also be effected for the complementary service that allows users to specify addresses from which mail can be received.
On the PR front, the carrier said it will step up a series of newspaper advertisements that tell customers how to change their e-mail addresses and block messages from certain addresses. It will also begin inserting flyers into monthly bills and recommending to customers that they chose a personalised address at the time they sign up for service.
DoCoMo also said it is considering a new e-mail charging structure, for introduction some time this year, although failed to provide additional information.