After much will-they won’t-they the operator has announced it will launch i-mode services in its UK, German and Irish territories.
There have long been rumours, but today mmo2 confirmed what many have been saying, that it is to become the latest European operator to launch data services based on NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode technology.
Under the terms of the agreement, O2 is licensed by DoCoMo to offer the i-mode capability to the 22 million customers of its 2/2.5G and 3G mobile communications networks. i-mode currently has 45 million subscribers using over 6,100 official content sites in 10 countries and regions, and will be available on an extensive selection of handsets and devices from NEC, Panasonic, Siemens, Motorola and Samsung, amongst others.
O2 UK and O2 Ireland will have exclusive use of i-mode branding and technology in their respective markets. In Germany, the company will launch the service based on i-mode technology under its own brand.
O2 plans to introduce i-mode in the UK and Ireland during the second half of 2005. In Germany, the service will be offered from Spring 2006, allowing sufficient time to develop handsets based on i-mode technology that will incorporate O2 Germany’s Genion HomeZone product.
Peter Erskine, chief executive officer of mmO2 plc, said: “Following the recent success of i-mode elsewhere in Europe and its growing subscriber base, we have conducted a thorough evaluation of the opportunities offered by licensing this technology. Of particular significance is the ARPU increase experienced by other i-mode licencees – largely driven by the combination of an intuitive, easy to use interface with an impressive selection of handsets and a wide-ranging content library.
“O2 remains focused on delivering the best possible service to our customers. I look forward to a highly productive partnership with DoCoMo – marrying O2’s skills in brand, customer insight and data services with DoCoMo’s considerable research and development capabilities and strong relationships with both device and application/content providers.”
NTT DoCoMo president and chief executive officer, Masao Nakamura, commented: “I am very pleased to initiate a partnership with mmO2, a leading provider of mobile services. This new collaboration will certainly drive further expansion of i-mode in the global arena.”