i-mode Gets Wapped

Great article. (See "Unwired: Japan Has the Future in Its Pocket," page 26, June 2000).

The debate is now on: will i-mode make it out of Japan? The problem for NTT DoCoMo, as you mention, is to get back on board the WAP Forum, because WAP is in 3G. I personally do not think the guys at Nokia or Ericsson will let it in. They realize now how wise they were to refuse to let it in two years ago when they drafted WAP 1.0. DoCoMo and its four Japanese suppliers (who get strategic information six months before other suppliers) would have been ready to swallow the world market. So now DoCoMo is, once again, the big guy playing by its own rules. PDC was an export failure, so they were wiser on W-CDMA, but they can't resist going their own way for i-mode. History repeats itself. As Jeff Funk said at the ATIP Conference, even if DoCoMo buys one foreign operator every month, there will still be hundreds who have already signed on for WAP.

Fabrice Lelouvier
Fabrice.Lelouvier@dree.org
IT Analyst
French Trade Commission in Tokyo

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