DoCoMo’s i-mode goes for the globe! Japan’s leading cellco and its eight alliance partners in Europe, Taiwan and Australia agreed on their first joint procurement tie-up for i-mode handsets. Korea’s LG Electronics will fill what promises to be a very large order for their camera-equipped, clamshell, L342i model with embedded antenna and Java capability. LG has made strong inroads into the European mobile marketplace. A report by IDC on Europe’s mobile phone market showed LG with.. (WWJ subscribers log in to read full story; keywords include terminal partners, i-mode licensees, subscriber count.)
A report by IDC on Europe’s mobile phone market showed LG with a 25.5 percent share.
Partners in the joint procurement are: E-Plus Mobilfunk GmbH & Co. KG (Germany); KPN Mobile The Netherlands B.V. (the Netherlands); Far EasTone Telecommunications (Taiwan); BASE N.V./S.A. (Belgium); Bouygues Telecom S.A. (France); Wind Telecomunicazioni S.p.A. (Italy); COSMOTE Mobile Telecommunications S.A. (Greece); and Telstra (Australia)
Four other companies with i-mode license agreements Cellcom Israel (Israel); Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (Russia); O2 plc (UK), and StarHub Limited (Singapore) are expected to join in future joint procurement projects.
Outside of Japan the ”i” in i-mode used to stand for ignorant as the company poured millions into unprofitable international investments.
But DoCoMo has worked hard transforming itself from prospective telecom provider to successful content developer with i-mode as their platform; i-mode subscribers outside Japan have reached 5 million. Add in Japanese subscribers and i-mode users total 50 million worldwide.
Earlier in the month DoCoMo announced an agreement with LG Electronics to jointly develop a dual-mode 3G FOMA handset that works on both W-CDMA and GSM/GPRS networks. The company also has agreements with Nokia and Motorola. The Motoroloa M-1000 is already on the market here with Nokia to follow later in the year.
Services for i-mode are currently available from ten operators around the world and the company plans to soon launch the platform in four additional countries.
– Gail Nakada