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O2 i-mode launch is 'imminent'

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Mobile phone network O2 will start up its i-mode service "this autumn", technology partner NEC revealed today.

Indeed, the launch could come as early as next week, sources familiar with the matter claim, with the carrier making public its pricing and content plans.

O2 announced it had licensed i-mode in November 2004, pointing to a H2 2005 launch for the mobile Internet service's introduction in the UK and Ireland.

Today, NEC said O2 will use its Mobile Internet Platform gateway as the foundation for the new service, part of the carrier's programme to increase its share of the mobile data market and to raise the average revenue it makes from each of its customers. More than a quarter of O2's revenue currently comes from data services.

The O2 i-mode service will operate alongsides its O2 Active offering, on both 2.5G and 3G networks.

O2 will source i-mode handsets from NEC, along with Panasonic, Samsung, Siemens (now BenQ) and Motorola. ®

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