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DoCoMo falls out with mobile TV users

Japanese mobile giant NTT DoCoMo is scrambling to release a new version of its popular mobile TV handset after unscrupulous users found a loophole allowing them to watch free mobile TV.

DoCoMo has had 1seg mobile terrestrial digital TV services available on the Panasonic P901iTV since April and is thought to have sold over 120,000 of the devices.

But wily users have been taking the heavily subsidised handsets home and then cancelling their mobile subscription a couple of days later. This allows them to continue watching digital TV services on the device, effectively turning the phone into nothing more than a portable TV.

DoCoMo is reported to be losing up to Eur250 (£170) on each device and as word spread significant numbers of users have been joining in the scam.

DoCoMo’s rivals, KDDI and Softbank, which also offer the same phone and services, have been unaffected because their devices automatically lock down the TV module of the phone if the contract is cancelled. DoCoMo is now pushing to release an updated version of the device with the same blocking technology.

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