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For Australia - on the event list is Mobile Monday Melbourne - networking for the mobile content industry - when: 6.30pm to 8.30pm November 6th 2006 - where: Horse Bazaar, Digital Art Gallery Bar, 397 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne - cost: free. Guest speaker @ 7pm: Simon Goodrich, Portable Film Festival Simon is the General Manager of Portable Content, the company behind the Portable Film Festival.
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1. MTS Russia drops "outdated" i-mode
Even though it was expected the announcement still comes as a bombshell by Russian i-mode alliance partner Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) - Russia's largest cell phone firm with 50m subscribers - that its i-mode service had been a failure.
MTS Chief Executive Leonid Melamed said the company was unlikely to spend any more money on the project.
Earlier this year the company said the i-mode service had been unable to launch enough handsets and had attracted too few clients.
"This is not a good situation for MTS ... I do not see any future for it (i-mode)," Melamed told a news conference. He said the service, invented in the mid-1990s, was outdated.
MTS launched the service in September last year under the leadership of its previous chief executive, Vassily Sidorov. He was replaced by Melamed in August.
It is a bonbshell because it is the first public announcement of failure of i-mode by a partner. While Cellcom in Israel and Telstra in Australia have all but abandoned i-mode they have not stated so categorically in public.
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2. Softbank accuses DoCoMo of gouging customers
In the current Japanese mobile battle for customers Softbank Mobile announced an aggressive discount packages which drew the ire of DoCoMo CEO Masao Nakamura who said Softbank's campaign had falsely portrayed its rivals, essentially DoCoMo, as over-charging:
"If you read the fine prints in Softbank's advertisement, you will see there are so many conditions attached to their so-called discount deals," he said. "We are appalled by their approach and falsely characterizing Japanese mobile phone operators for over-charging."
Shares of KDDI, DoCoMo's biggest rival, suffered their biggest fall in four years after Softbank announced its discount packages. I haven't done the analysis but normalised by the Big Mac Index I'd be surprised if Softbank's Son is not correct - still that's no reason to cut prices - an alternative is for the challengers to accrue the bigger margins by being even more effective in lowering the costs of their service. Softbank's Son vowed to "destroy the existing price structure" of the industry.
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3. 3G success melts DoCoMo profits
DoCoMo President and Chief Executive Masao Nakamura said the operator would "strive to achieve" its previous target operating profit for the year because of increasing competition and in part because of the cost of moving subscribers to its 3G service at increasing rates.
Its success in accelerating people onto the 3G FOMA services means a higher total cost of handset subsidies than was previously budgeted. DoCoMo sold 10.5 million 3G handsets during the previous six-month period, versus 1.4 million second generation models, and at the end of September about 56% subscribers are on the FOMA service.
4. Is i-mode outmoded?
There is nothing outdated about i-mode, despite the claims of Russia's MTS - after all it is used in the most advanced 3G mobile web service in the world by DoCoMo in Japan.
But it has lost some of its competitive edge and many elements (but no all) have been (and can be) studied and copied and adapted by carriers without having to incorporate licensing from DoCoMo. This is what Telstra has done and where it is heading.
The lack of handsets and a half-hearted attempt to fully adopt the key elements of cooperating and sharing enough revenue with content providers, greed in data revenus charges, and poor or confusing retail strategies, are the usual underlying causes of failure within alliance partners.
5. Texting Japan - maybe
DoCoMo has signed on for Mobile 365's International Short Message Service (ISMS), which might mean that SMSs from elsewhere can reach Japanese subscribers. The partnership expands Mobile 365's North Asia connectivity across China, Japan, and South Korea.
In my experience using Skype for SMS to Japan rarely, I mean never, works, even though Skype charges me for the non-deliveries. Hopefully this will mean that I can at least reach DoCoMo subscribers.
Independent audits, analysis, project reviews and i-mode strategy business advice, seminars and round tables, conference chair and speaking, magazine articles and press comment - to discuss these and other opportunities, please call or email. | Walter | Email Walter | Call (Australia) +61 403 345 632. | Pascal | Email Pascal | Call (France) +33 670 765 643. | Subscribe to i-Mode Strategy.
|This Weekly Newsletter on the i-mode business ecosystem is bought to you the i-mode Content Forum (iCF) the world's largest and most active i-mode® content trade association. President Pascal Lorne, and VP Asia-Pacific Walter Adamson. See our Aims and Objectives.|