DoCoMo Retires i-mode Brand In Japan

According to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, DoCoMo is retiring the 2G PHS i-Mode brand in a bid to migrate its customers to the 3G FOMA service. Although iMode will be visibly removed from all marketing, packaging, and messaging in the domestic market, customers with existing iMode service will continue to have access to iMode and DoCoMo will continue to support and market the iMode platform to its international carrier partners such as Bouygues Telecom in France. DoCoMo reasons that their FOMA service is affordable, and is now performing well, and not only does it offer better data services, but it offers greater network efficiencies (lower spectrum use) to the carrier for voice traffic. DoCoMo will also address the low-end market with voice-only service based on 2G technology with cheaper handsets. This move makes sense to us, and in a year or two we predict DoCoMo will take the next step and end iMode even for existing customers, who would be pushed firmly to FOMA. For more, here is the (subscription required) Total Telecom article. Addendum: Stop the presses! There’s may be an an error in this story, and it’s possible that it is incorrect. We’ll update it when we confirm some facts.

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