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DoCoMo to bring i-mode to Belgium

In April of this year, a renowned Japanese company will begin offering an Internet-compatible (‘i-mode’) cell phone service in Belgium. Japan's top mobile-phone carrier, NTT DoCoMo Inc., which has had great success with i-mode at home, is now branching out into overseas markets, and will this year commence operations in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the USA. Services will be similar to those offered in Japan, and will include e-mail, news, bank transactions and ticket purchases.

I-mode’s runaway success in Japan stems from its appeal to the younger generation, which has in turn have enticed companies into offering services, including news distribution and bank deposits. The key to i-mode's success in Europe will also depend on how far it anticipates and provides for subscribers' needs.

At present, three top Japanese companies are involved or planning to become involved with the manufacture of i-mode-compatible handsets for the European market, and high levels of growth are expected.

Content for the i-mode service will initially be provided by Japanese firms, and DoCoMo also plans to offer its third generation (‘3G’) cell phone service, which enables video distribution and videophone services. DoCoMo hopes that as demand for 3G services increases in Europe, foreign firms will be prepared to make the necessary investment to launch into the market.

Reported by
11 February 2002

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