i-mode Dead Down Under?
i-mode Strategy is reporting that Telstra’s recent launch announcement of their new “Next G” service lacks any reference to the carrier’s past commitment to i-mode. The closing paragraph states: Personally, I’ll probably buy Next G, although I’d prefer a Nokia handset and they seem to be left out in the cold (not to mention NEC who are not on offer for Next G and given their dependence on the success of i-mode, which is finished, will probably close down their mobile division in Australia).
The tell-tale truth in i-mode’s apparent failure in Australia is reflected in the comment:
“A visit to Telstra stores, and to independent dealer stores, reveals no obvious i-mode promotion or literature, and very little i-mode knowledge amongst the sales staff. Mostly they still confuse i-mode with a technology and particularly with comments like “we’re moving to 3G now so i-mode is finished,” although that is probably even being generous about their knowledge as most simply stare blankly at any enquiries about i-mode.”
In Japan, DoCoMo has made sure that every single handset they sell has an i-mode key onboard and the carrier’s promotion of the product is still going strong – even 6 years after the service went live. Just like any other well-known brand – think Coca-Cola or GM – the improvement and marketing effort is a continuing campaign and with data contributing 20 percent of ARPU, they have proven it can be done (and be beneficial) if executed correctly.