IPMobile returns licence, files for bankruptcy

31 Oct 2007

Japanese mobile start-up IPMobile has returned its mobile licence and filed for bankruptcy with the Tokyo District Court, reports TMCnet. In a sad end, the company admitted it was forced to shut up shop due to a lack of funding and debts totalling more than USD7.8 million. IPMobile president Itsuo Sugimura told the the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) that his company will return its licence by 9 November, having failed to raise money to fund the proposed service. The MIC said it will officially revoke the licence before the end of the year.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, IPMobile was awarded one of the licences issued by the government in November 2005 to provide 3G cellular services using 2GHz spectrum suitable for UMTS-TDD technology. It always faced a difficult task in such a crowded domestic market though. It aimed to achieve nationwide coverage by 2012, and at launch, planned to offer a flat rate mobile broadband service with downlink speeds up to 5.2Mbps and uplink speeds up to 858kbps. The operator had originally planned to launch service in three cities in October 2006, but was later forced to scale back to Tokyo only. It then said it planned to launch a fully-fledged commercial service in the capital in the first half of 2007, but had to revise this schedule again. By September 2007, having lost the backing of technology partner Multimedia Research Institute Corp and with no launch forthcoming, IPMobile was reported to be ready to abandon its launch altogether and return its licence.