i-mode REACHES 250,000 USERS

The i-mode service O2 launched last October has proved to the fastest growing i-mode offering outside Japan.
In just six months it has won 250,000 users, and now has 150 sites across 13 genres.

O2 says it believes that i-mode is finding its natural place in the spectrum of information services because it provides uniquely personal versions of the services that have proved so popular on PCs, as well as the conventionally popular applications of mobile technology. And the success of applications like eBay and the shopping comparison site Kelkoo “represent a shift in the application of mobile technology”.

We are really pleased how well consumers have taken to i-mode,” said Grahame Riddell, Head of Content Marketing at O2. “It is still early days, and the service needs to mature, but we are very positive about the emerging usage trends.”

O2 didn’t say anything about the value of i-mode, but it’s becoming clear that ARPU isn’t the sole issue. For O2, an offer like i-mode is a useful strategy to attract users from other networks and keep extra users from leaving.

O2 says it will be adding new i-mode handsets over the coming weeks. The first of these is a variant of Sony Ericsson’s K610; the K610im (for i-mode, geddit?) is a slim and elegant 3G handset with SE’s 2mp camera, a Memory Stick slot with 64MB card supplied, and a highly specified music player (good for O2’s over-the-air downloads) – all in a 89g package. It won’t be available till Q4 2006, though.

Other interesting stats:
1- i-mode users consume twice as much data per month as they currently do on comparable WAP services.
2- Over 75% of users are active in any 30 day period.
3 – i-mode serves over 1m page impressions per day.
4 – 25% of the user base is using email with their i-mode handset.

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