KPN Mobile welcomes 100,000th European I-mode user

The European I-mode mobile Internet subscriber count has passed 100,000 and is on track to hit a million next year, Dutch KPN...

The European I-mode mobile Internet subscriber count has passed 100,000 and is on track to hit a million next year, Dutch KPN Mobile announced yesterday.

KPN Mobile was the first to offer I-mode outside Japan through its German subsidiary E-Plus Mobilfunk.

The German service began on 16 March and now has more than 77,000 subscribers. KPN Mobile introduced I-mode in the Netherlands a month later and now has 23,000 subscribers.

In Japan, I-mode was introduced by its inventor NTT DoCoMo in February 1999 and now has more than 34 million users, according to the NTT DoCoMo Web site.

KPN Mobile, which licensed I-mode for its businesses in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, expects to have 100,000 subscribers in the Netherlands by the end of the year and several hundred thousand in Germany. The Belgian service has not yet been launched, but is being tested.

A major marketing campaign and special offers have helped boost growth in subscriber numbers in the Netherlands, which have tripled since late May.

I-mode is an important source of revenue for KPN Mobile. Users pay a fixed monthly subscription fee plus the cost of the data transferred and subscriptions to content services.

KPN Mobile claimed an average user takes out two content subscriptions, with the most popular being ring tones and logos for the handset, and news and weather. The e-mail function is used by 86% of customers in the Netherlands.

Content partners offer more than 80 official I-mode sites in the Netherlands and 100 in Germany. KPN estimates the number of independent European sites at 7,000. In Japan, there are more than 57,000 independent sites and more than 3,000 official sites, according to NTT DoCoMo's Web site.

Mobile phone operators in France and Spain are preparing to launch I-mode, and KG Telecommunications in Taiwan launched the service in June.

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