Wednesday, 7 February 2007

O2 reports underwhelming i-mode take up


O2 has announced subscriber growth for i-mode. About 450,000 at present, up from 250,000 in June 2006, following an October 2005 launch. So despite a slightly improving range of handsets, growth is slowing. Also, no indication of how many people just fancied one of the phones and aren't really using i-mode at all.

Face facts i-mode fans, it's just not what people want. It was a pretty good solution 5 years ago. Now it's outdated. Full HTML browsing is where it's at. Look at what companies like InfoGin and Picsel can do with rendering and how clever the smart browsers are. A separate mobile internet is a thing of the past.

It's interesting that other i-mode operators have either pretty much dumped it (Cellcom, MTS) or "deprioritised" it (E-Plus). Before they stopped publishing numbers of i-mode subscribers a few quarters ago KPN and E-Plus had seen user numbers start to decline. And there is was all based on handset subsidy. In Belgium, where there aren't any subsidies, take up at KPN's BASE subsidiary was abysmal.

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