O2 Drops i-Mode

After nearly two years after its introduction O2 is looking to drop the i-Mode service for the UK due to low customer take-up and lack of appealing handsets.

O2’s mobile web service, developed by Japan’s NTT DoCoMo, has had £10 million spent on it in the UK yet has only brought in 260,000 active users.  In other countries, such as Ireland, i-Mode has become hugely popular, but due to the UK’s response O2 have held off a potential launch in Germany.

Th service was only available on a handful of phones as an alternative to O2 Active, and given the progress made by other networks with their less restrictive offerings O2 have decided to pull the plug.

"We will continue to support i-mode for the next two years. However, as part of a regular strategic review we won’t launch any new i-mode handsets from July 2007. We will still sell existing i-mode handset models. The service has proven to be successful with rich content and high satisfaction among users," said a statement from O2.

"However, a limited range of devices has restricted its growth and we don’t see that changing. This environment is being supported by an increasing number of feature-rich devices and tariffs accessing richer content at faster speeds. I-mode is part of the evolution of the mobile nternet but not the end point. We will continue to manage and serve any existing UK i-mode customers until July 2009."