Japan's top mobile carrier has begun marketing a cell phone that can make Internet calls over Wi-Fi wireless networks in addition to regular ones.
The dual-network N900iL phone from NTT DoCoMo can switch back and forth as needed.
It uses third-generation, or 3G, technology, which relays data at faster speeds than most cell phones in use today. When users are inside their office building and within reach of a corporate Wi-Fi system, the phone also runs Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.
Such combined-network phones are still rare. Nokia Corp., the world's largest mobile phone maker, has said it is introducing such a handset next year.
NTT DoCoMo's 3G phones, called Foma, got off to a slow start in 2001, but have since gained popularity in Japan — a gadget-loving nation where people generally buy new handsets every few years to keep up with new features.
At a star-studded event, NTT DoCoMo showed off other 3G features, including one where users can choose TV shows by looking at a program guide that pops up on the cell phone. The phone instantly works as a remote control to turn on that show. If the show isn't on yet, the phone beeps when it's about to start.