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SlowCoMo delays i-Mode – Europe yawns

GPRS roll-out blamed

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NTT DoCoMo's launch of i-Mode services in Europe looks likely to be delayed again, according to comments made by the company's Midori Matsubayashi yesterday. Matusbayashi blamed the protracted roll-out of GPRS services for the hold-up.

i-Mode services had been expected to launch this year, but Matsubayashi said it was now "likely" to appear in 2002. Two weeks ago, when the reports of a delay first surfaced on Japanese wires, the blame was put at the door of SlowCoMo's debt laden European network partner KPG.

Nomura analyst Keith Woolcock isn't surprised. He's only too happy to puncture the bubble generated by the Mobile Commerce Goldrush™, 2001 Edition:-

"i-Mode gained many subscribers, but that doesn't translate to revenue. i-Mode hasn't made all that much money," he says.

Woolcock is as smitten with Andrew Odlyzko's analysis of the wireless gold rush as we are:-

"People will provide their own content," he says.

And you don't need i-Mode to do that. i-Mode services are a value-add for networks - but only networks of SlowCoMo's own choosing. The rest of us will get by using the lowest common denominator MMS, or even SMS text messages.

France Telecom's decision to create a more sophisticated open platform, by investing in the open source Jabber messenger, looks a far smarter move each day.®

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