i-mode dies off in Europe

The German operator E-Plus has become the fourth European carrier to announce plans to shut down its i-mode network. Suitably enough, the closure will take place on April 1st and follows closures by O2, KPN and Russia's MTS.

i-mode was pioneered by Japan's NTT DoCoMo and was hugely successful after its domestic launch in 1999 and the company subsequently licensed the service to operators around the world. However, like other Japanese mobile technologies before it (the analogue Japanese Total Access Communications System - JTACS, the digital Pacific Digital Cellular or PDC and the Personal HandyPhone System) the i-mode didn't export very well.

According to a Mobile Entertainment report, European operators that still offer i-mode services include Cosmote in Romania and Greece, Bouygues in France, Telefonica in Spain, Wind in Italy, O2 Ireland, Base in Belgium and Globul in Bulgaria. The report states, that "many aren't advertising the fact on their web sites."