It has been 5 years now that i-mode has been launched in Europe with heterogeneous success.
Some of the carriers, have decided to stop i-mode (Telstra, Eplus) while some of them are still very successful (Bouygues Telecom).
Thanks to its fair and transparent ecosystem, i-mode has participated to the emergence of many small, medium and large companies over the world. The company I am running, Miyowa is one of them. Even though i-mode only represents a small amount of Miyowa 's revenues now, Miyowa still provides i-mode services in over 15 countries.
The number of i-mode handsets shipped every year will slow down. All i-mode carriers have engaged a massive migration plan to wap. The installed base of i-mode users is still in millions, but this user base will now decline slowly.
Before I send this final note on the blog - which is not relevant to continue updating - I thought it could be interesting to share in 9 points what we learned from i-mode.
1- The mobile internet ARPU of an i-mode user still remains today at least 30% higher than wap users
2- I-mode penetration has been mainly slowed-down by he lack of hype terminals (i.e.brands such as Nokia).
3- Killer apps such as "send email" and "send picture by mail" generate as much usage as SMS and MMS.
4- i-mode handsets (ready to brows, ready to send email) generate mobile internet usage of over 65% of the installed base. In comparison, less than 15% of a wap installed base is using mobile internet. Main reason for this high mobile internet usage are the same as those which have more recently made the success of Apple and are as simple as this :
5- 1st reason : ready to use handset : no configuration required
6- 2nd reason : clear data plan bundles. User knows what they pay for
7- 3rd reason : easy UI
8- 4th reason : killer app are included (take picture, send email)
9- Some carriers have closed down i-mode completely this year (i.e. Telstra in Australia) but they used their experience with i-mode to build internally a much more advanced content management and provisioning system for the WAP portal which made it easier for content providers to get material into the WAP portal.