KPN Mobile today revealed that the popularity of its new online i-mode service is sky-rocketing, gaining over 77,000 new Dutch mobile phone subscribers since mid-August. This month KPN is expected to introduce a third i-mode handset, the NEC n22i, in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. Meanwhile KPN’s main partner, NTT DoCoMo, has over 36 million i-mode subscribers in Japan.
100,000 i-mode Subscribers in the Netherlands
2002-12-18 Wireless 27 Comments
I wonder if this will take off. KPN is selling their imode products in belgium too, but i don’t suppose many people are interested in it.
Seriously the tone of this piece gives the impression europe is hot on state of the art stuff, but in fact we’re not. We europeans (at least netherlands & belgium) only use our cellphones for a whole lot more. SMS and all that stuff is really popular over here. Almost no-one has a pager…
If anything it’s their wonderful (funny) commercials that made the sale
I believe it always takes some time for people to appreciate new technologies or services. i-mode has only recently been released on the Belgian market, several months after the Dutch and German launch date.
Note that the i-mode launch in Japan was kind of similar as in Europe, it took quite some time for this service to flourish in Japan as well, but boy did it flourish!
In the netherlands there is this i-mode commerical of this guy
drinking a glass of muddy water that has a pair of soaking dentures.. he drinks all the water in the glass and then his friends pay-up so he can buy a new imode phone..
my gf cant stand the commerical.. it makes me laugh everytime..
> SMS and all that stuff is really popular over here.
One of the great things of i-mode is its email service. Also there is very good support by large companies for banking, news, bookings, etc.
I hope i-mode will ‘conquer’ Europe just like Japan!
I think that commercial is just too disgusting. I like the party pool commercial much better. Nice stereo sounds and a good quality picture of his friends taking a pee after he took a nice dive.
Would KPN offer 3G i-mode services in the future like NTT DoCoMo, and how much stake does NTT DCM have in this?
that not a bad start but they do have 13.7 million subs in germany, holland, and belgium. Granted the 100,000 is just in holland.
frankly i think the carriers have spent too much time thinking about technology (3G wcdma) and too little on content. I think these services just need time, to gain content and applications, for them to become popular. Give it three to five years.
Wow. What an impressive marketshare of 0.007% on their subscriber base. (see ryan’s post)
I think in the end of the day people want Mobile Internet.
Granted, i-mode looks cool and has some big backers, but I think right now, MMS is taking off, which i-mode doesn’t offer.
Given the fact that Vodafone Live is beginning to outsell i-mode, I think PTT has missed the boat…
I think i-mode will not make it. 100.000 subscribers is nothing. Even nokia does not believe in i-mode. I think only innovators will subscribe to i-mode. Come on who want’s internet on a post stamp-size screen?
IMO it should be emphasized that most potential costumers in the Netherlands already own a GSM cellphone. So obviously it is more difficult for a new product like this to penetrate the market.
However i-mode’s current marketshare is pretty large based on the 77,000 new subscriber figure since mid-August. Funny enough there have been many so called ‘market analists’ and ‘experts’ claiming that it would be extremely unrealistic to believe of a possibility that the amount of i-mode subscribers would hit the 100,000 mark this year. 😛
I wonder how Vodaphone is doin’ with their MMS-service…
(how does my IP look here? 🙂
> Even nokia does not believe in i-mode.
Nokia does make i-mode cellphones for the Japanese market! However there they are being offered fierce competition from other handset makers.
For the rest of the world Nokia is pretty much the solid market leader. I can easily understand that they don’t want to see i-mode as a huge success, as this would probably result into fierce competition for them in other markets as well.
Still 100.000 is nothing. Consumers just don’t want it. A succes in Japan does not mean a succes in a european country. There are cultural differences (f.i. very few pc’s in japan). I-mode is just not the succes KPN believed it would be. But KPN does not want to tell us that. KPN has to report positive news once in a while (to satisfy their shareholders) and that’s important now because of the bad financial situation of KPN.
> KPN has to report positive news once in a while
They certainly don’t make up these figures and personally I am very glad that they showed all those self-proclaimed experts to be on the wrong end with their expectations.
It has been an excellent above expectation start for the i-mode service (even above KPN’s for this year).
It’s just so very obvious that you work for KPN. Only they can be positive about i-mode! ; ) But anyway goodluck.
> Would KPN offer 3G i-mode services in the future like
> NTT DoCoMo
That’s the plan but Japan is still very much ahead, I don’t expect Japan-like 3G services (384 kbps) anytine soon within Europe.
> and how much stake does NTT DCM have in this?
A large stake. 85% of KPN mobile is owned by KPN, 15% by NTT DoCoMo.
I talked to some 17 year olds about this (arguably the most important driving force behind mobile phone sales in europe), and they seemed more exited about mms than i-mode. Not a very good sign (for i-mode).
Then again this was in Belgium, who knows what these crazy dutch people are up to 😉
‘we’ crazy dutch people don’t want it. I-mode is expensive stuff and it’s useless when UMTS comes.
i think the key here is to make it useful. mMode (AT&T wireless) and vision (sprint pcs) are pretty useless to me so i won’t be signing up.
However, if they can give me applications/content that will either save me time or facilitate my adventures beyond the realm of the PC (outside of my home and office) then i’ll sign up.
Otherwise my world is like this (and i think many others too). Drive to work (can’t drive and use imode), work (have a pc) drive home, stay at home for a bit (pc handy) and then leave for entertainment (generally don’t want to see pc or sit around and browse the web on a 2X2 screen).
I don’t see a lot of room to even use imode. If my life revolved around a train then maybe but not as is.
> ‘we’ crazy dutch people don’t want it.
That’s exactly what most Japanese people said when this service was introduced.
> it’s useless when UMTS comes
Of course, companies like Nokia and O2 are excellent solution providers as well and will not suddenly roll over and die. I believe i-mode has effectively awoken the competition. But IMO Europe (let alone the US) are still very much behind compared to the Japanese with regard to smartphone advancements and provided services.
Vodafone Live is also coming up, with their MMS and stuff. I must say that Vodafone’s marketing campaign is much better than KPN’s I-mode one.
From what I see on television, I’d rather go for Vodafone Live.
It is also that I-mode is rather expensive, I’ve read some discussions about this on a dutch site.
There are rumors that Vodafone Live sells 5x better than I-mode in dutch stores in this present.
I was optimistic about the i-mode potential long before KPN got involved and way before writing articles for OSNews. So FYI I do not work for KPN, I am a Physical Therapist.
But I have seen a huge potential for quite some time, for instance when I submitted the following article to Slashdot (January, 2001), there were “only” 17 million subsribers in Japan, now this has more than doubled to 36 million!
I believe this success is mainly caused by a combination of easy usage, high speeds and alot of content and useful services. (As there are good alternatives available for the Japanese market)
..why practically every dutch teen has huge debts!
> There are rumors that Vodafone Live sells 5x better than
> I-mode in dutch stores in this present.
I have read information from such rumour spreaders as well. Among the things claimed was that KPN’s results are neglectable and will never reach the 100,000 mark for this year. 😛
Also emphasis was put on the fact that this was an inquiry among very few retailers, combined with the fact that no official data is yet known with regard Vodafone Live, and that the bulk of i-mode sales take place within KPN’s own shops, it is very hard to justify these rumours IMO.
> A succes in Japan does not mean a succes in a european country. There are cultural differences (f.i. very few pc’s in japan).
Very few PC’s in Japan? Not sure where you got that info, or which country you are comparing Japan too, but there are quite a few PC’s in Japan.
The i-mode service and the competing J-Sky (J-Phone/vodaphone) and EZWeb (au and tuka) services have grown to become real useful. The i-mode was one of the (if not THE) catalysts that led to the deep penetration of cellphone usage in Japan. The i-mode services that are offered are not always complex, but the amount of helpful information that is available through the phone is pretty incredible. Because NTT Docomo screens the sites that are available through navigating through the i-mode menu screens (as opposed to entering a URL), it is not much of a hassle to access the information that one is looking for.
BTW, I have an AU phone so I use EZWeb, nice enought phone though, with a camera that takes picts and also movies up to 15 seconds long, plus the GPS function is pretty handy.
If you check with i-Mode history, the initial adoption in Japan was much slower than in Netherlands. And you guys already dismiss it as insuccessful. *sigh*.
Reason why the imode is populair is that it’s available
below cost, you ca get one for 99 euro and if you don’t read the fine print that seems like a good deal..
(until you start using it and the phonebill skyrockets)
paid 140 euro for a decent prepaid phone.