O2 looks at i-mode

13 Oct 2004

UK-based mobile operator mmO2 is reportedly considering adopting NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode mobile internet technology which brings internet, e-mail and gaming applications to cellular handsets. i-mode has already been launched by a number of operators outside Japan, including KPN’s subsidiaries in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, Wind of Italy, Bouygues in France and Telefónica of Spain.

According to a report from UK daily The Guardian, mmO2 officials recently visited Telefónica and came away impressed with i-mode’s capabilities; the cellco’s chief executive Peter Erskine says a decision on whether to introduce i-mode-based services will be made before the end of this year. Telefónica has opted not to use the i-mode brand on its new services, choosing instead to incorporate the additional features offered by the technology into its existing e-mocion WAP-based mobile data service.

NTT DoCoMo will no doubt be keen to snag a UK partner for i-mode as it is the only major European market where the technology has not been introduced. The Japanese company has attracted more than 42.3 million i-mode users in its home market, where subscribers have access to content from around 83,000 i-mode-enabled websites.

Meanwhile mmO2 is still thought to be one of the most likely takeover targets in the telecoms sector, having already attracted interest earlier this year from KPN. Telefónica is just one of the other companies rumoured to be looking at a buy-out. Analysts say that O2, which has mobile operations in the UK, Ireland and Germany, is currently undervalued at 101.2 pence per share.

United Kingdom, O2 UK, Telefonica O2 Europe