English content pushes I-Mode beyond Japan

Japan's largest cellular telephone carrier, NTT DoCoMo, and AOL are close to a deal that will allow customers of cellular Internet services to access AOL content.

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By  Peter Conmy Published  August 5, 2000

Japan's largest cellular telephone carrier, NTT DoCoMo, and AOL (America OnLine) are close to a deal that will allow customers of cellular Internet services to access AOL content on their telephone handsets.

This is the latest of several partnerships between content providers and telecommunications giants, but the first to focus on mobile Internet users.

If, as expected, the deal goes ahead, AOL content will be offered not just to the Japanese market, where NTT DoCoMo has 9.4 million users on its I-Mode wireless Internet service, but to other areas of the world as well. When asked if the service might extend to the Middle East, a spokesman for AOL declined to comment at this time.

I-Mode Technology

NTT DoCoMo has made clear its ambition to push I-Mode technology overseas. Wireless Application Protocol-based systems are currently in operation on a global scale, most recently deployed here in the Middle East.

But few platforms have matched the popularity of I-mode, and NTT DoCoMo is keen to extend its influence in the wireless Internet sector. A joint venture with AOL would offer new English content to mobile users, and drive the adoption of I-mode technology.

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