Feeds

AT&T launches m-mode (like i-mode but different)

On streets in April

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Website security in corporate America

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

AT&T Wireless Services Inc will launch a wireless data service based on NTT DoCoMo Inc's wildly popular i-mode in April, company spokespeople told ComputerWire yesterday,

Kevin Murphy writes

. To be branded m-mode, the service will be somewhat different to its Japanese counterpart, tailored to US market demands and the available technology.

"We plan to launch a consumer offering next month," AT&T Wireless spokesperson Ritch Blasi said. "It's not i-mode, it's based on i-mode - the technology and the methods DoCoMo uses in terms of marketing."

The launch will mark the end of over a year of speculation as to when AT&T Wireless would bring i-mode to market. Some kind of American flavor of i-mode has been on the cards since December 2000, when NTT DoCoMo invested $9.8bn in AT&T Wireless for a 16% stake in the company.

M-mode will also preempt the convergence of WAP and i-mode technologies. The service will initially be WAP-based, said Blasi, who added that "by summer we should have a dual browser" that would also allow applications to be built using i-mode's cHTML markup language.

Handsets from Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Siemens will support the service, with about two dozen ultimately expected. The service will run on AT&T Wireless's GPRS 2.5G cellular network.

ATT is also bringing in some of NTT DoCoMo's network-side technology, the "underlying platform", though the company could not provide specifics. The US firm will not pay NTT DoCoMo license fees, unlike other NTT DoCoMo partners in Europe, including KPN Mobile in the Netherlands and Germany, both of which launched recently.

"Part of the agreement when they bought the 16% [ATT Wireless equity stake] was that we don't have to pay license fees," said Blasi, discounting reports that the lack of license payments was a sore point between the two firms.

Pricing for users has not been revealed yet, but Blasi confirmed that AT&T will charge by the kilobyte in much the same fashion as it does with current GPRS data services and as NTT DoCoMo does with i-mode in Japan.

Applications will include messaging (SMS, instant messaging and email), information services and entertainment. Certain features popular in Japan, such as cartoons, "just wouldn't sell here in the States", and have been eschewed, Blasi said.

Details of arrangements with third-party content providers were not available, but Blasi said there will be several content providers on the service at launch. America Online Inc seems a likely candidate, given it currently provides AOL Instant Messenger to AT&T Wireless customers.

I-mode has managed to swell to 30 million users in Japan in just three years, and NTT DoCoMo has a strategy of expanding internationally through partnerships, usually involving cash investments, with local wireless carriers.

Many have questioned whether the service can prove as popular in overseas markets, given national cultural differences, and refining the service to appeal to US consumers seems to be part of the reason AT&T Wireless has taken its time launching m-mode.

© ComputerWire.com. All rights reserved.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.