Telstra launches NTT DoCoMo i-mode

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Telstra has launched NTT DoCoMo's mobile phone service i-mode in Australia, a multimedia service proving popular with consumers overseas.

Telstra has launched NTT DoCoMo's mobile phone service i-mode in Australia, a multimedia service proving popular with consumers overseas.

David Moffatt, consumer and marketing group director at Telstra, said i-mode delivered shopping websites, entertainment, banking and email to users.
i-mode could provide access to "compelling, relevant and timely" sites such as eBay, Fox Sport and the Weather Channel, he said.

"With more than 165 content sites available from launch across 13 categories, and expected to increase to over 200 sites in the year ahead, i-mode surpasses any other mobile internet offer on the Australian market," Moffat claimed.

i-mode was launched in Japan in February 1999. It has now been rolled out in nine countries including France, Greece and Germany. The service has 42 million subscribers in Japan and a total of three million in the eight other countries.

Some 96 percent of Australians were in some way users of Telstra's data network, Moffatt said.

i-mode sites would eventually funnel credit card payments for certain goods to the businesses involved using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology, he said.

Kei-ichi Enoki, products and services vice president at Japan-based NTT DoCoMo, said the service would resemble that offered in Japan.

"We are seeing the further expansion of the i-mode community across the globe," Enoki said.

NEC and Panasonic i-mode handsets were already available from 28 Telstra shops around Australia, Telstra said.

Moffatt said a successful introduction of i-mode and customer "education" should set Telstra up to offer 3G next year.

"Judging by the international i-mode experience, the rapid uptake in overseas markets, and our own customer research, we know customers want location-based services," Moffatt said.

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