MmO2 has confirmed it will launch the Japanese i-mode mobile service in the UK and Ireland in the second half of 2005.
It will license the technology from NTT DoCoMo for its 22 million customers on second-generation, GPRS and 3G networks,both companies announced as previously rumoured.
I-mode offers a package of content, e-mail, games, online shopping, video clips, ticketing services and other applications and services designed for packet-based network technologies in a format that is nearly identical to regular Web pages.
In the UK and Ireland, mmO2 will have exclusive use of i-mode technology. In Germany, mmO2 will launch a service and handsets under its own brand through existing independent retail channels in 2006. MmO2 in Germany will use i-mode-capable handsets that incorporate mmO2 Germany's Genion HomeZone product.
MmO2 also will have the right to sell i-mode through its own channels.
Offering I-mode will boost the revenue mmO2 gleans from its subscribers each month, the company said. Nearly 22 percent of its service revenues already come from data services and the company claims it has three million customers using its WAP technology.
The UK had remained one of the last major European markets without DoCoMo's service, after an earlier attempt to introduce the i-mode with Hutchison 3G fell through. It was launched in 1999 and is popular in Japan, where DoCoMo has more than 42 million subscribers. it has more than three million subscribers outside Japan, according to DoCoMo.
The deal with mmO2 is the eleventh I-mode partnership between DoCoMo and a carrier outside of Japan, and it is the third partnership announced this year.