NTT DoCoMo and Hutchison Essar announced today an agreement under which Hutch will launch the i-mode mobile service in India within 2007. DoCoMo will license the patented technologies and know-how needed for Hutch to offer i-mode on GSM, GPRS and W-CDMA networks. Preparations are also underway to launch i-mode in Hong Kong, Macao and the Philippines. DoCoMo plans to expand the service to a total of 26 countries/regions in the future.
According to the press release over 53 million people (incld. 47 million in Japan) world-wide now subscribe to i-mode, which are currently available in 16 countries: Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan and the UK.
Speaking on this historic occasion, Takeshi Natsuno, DoCoMo Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Multimedia Services, commented: “I am delighted that i-mode will be introduced in India, giving DoCoMo a foothold in this dynamic emerging market. We are excited about our alliance with Hutchison Essar, one of India’s leading and fastest-growing telecom operators. This will certainly create new momentum for the expansion of i-mode into other Asian markets.”
Asim Ghosh, Managing Director, Hutchison Essar said, “i-mode is the natural next step for us. At Hutch, we believe that mobile Internet is the way forward for the Internet and what better partner to have for this but i-mode. We are delighted that we will soon be able to offer this brilliant service to our customers.”