Dr. Kamel Maamaria, head of telecoms practice at consultancy AT Kearney, says that lots of people – especially in Europe – have tried to brush off the i-mode model as ‘a Japanese thing.’ But he says that no other model has shown that operators can make money from content. “Vodafone launching V live! is one of the best things that ever happened to DoCoMo – because what Vodafone is doing validates the i-mode model,” he adds. Watch Part I of our in-depth report highlighting Gurus and Deep Thinkers from this month’s 3G Mobile World Forum.
Comments from Wireless Watch Japan Editor-in-Chief Daniel Scuka:
We trucked out to Tokyo Disneyland last week to drop in on the 3G Mobile World Forum at the Hilton hotel, courtesy of the nice folks at Marcus Evans.
Honestly, I had the feeling that “3G” has gained back a little bit of the massive amount of respectability it lost in 2001 and 2002. The forum was well-attended, with participants showing up from Asian, European, and American carriers and related companies, and there seemed to be just the teensiest bit of optimism in the air.
Notable speakers came in from NTT DoCoMo (CEO Tachikawa), Mobile One (CEO Neil Montefiore), Telstra International (President Dick Simpson), SK IMT (CEO Yeon-Hak Kim), and KPN Mobile The Netherlands (CEO Cees van den Heijkant), among many others. There were speakers, chairs, and session leaders from all areas of the industry, including operations, finance, R&D, engineering, and – of course – mobile Web.
Even if “3G” is still a dirty word in some corners, at least lots of folks are finally talking about how to establish money-making mobile data services on 2.5G and use those revenues to boot-strap their networks into 3G.
One of the key points was made, I think, by Dr. Kamel Maamaria from AT Kearney, who told me that “3G is not so urgent” – and that many operators have still to “change their mindset” in order to make mobile data services (a la i-mode) work in their favor (Maamaria is lead interviewee in today’s video program – don’t miss it!).
In today’s program, we also speak with Brett Maurer from the Tokyo office of Metatron, a network testing outfit whose technology can determine which of Japan’s three giant carriers really has the best network system and fastest data.
Later in the program, we’ll speak with Vino Vinodrai from Bell Mobility (in my hometown – Toronto). If there’s anything he doesn’t know about how 3G standards have evolved, it probably isn’t worth knowing. He’ll reveal which giant Asian cellco helped settle some of W-CDMA’s standards battles – and it wasn’t a Japanese or Korean company!
Finally, we also met with CEO van den Heijkant from KPN Mobile The Netherlands, and he affirmed what Maamaria said — basically confirming that one reason why it took the better part of 18 months to role out i-mode on KPN was internal education. But you’ll have to wait until next week for Part II to see that discussion!