KG Telecom today launched i-mode service in Taiwan. Leslie Koo, Chairman/CEO of KG Telecom, stated that the vision of KG Telecom is to becoming the "leading wireless broadband access and platform aggregator in the Chinese region." Foresee the user demands for communication services, information and multimedia in the future, KGT utilizes wireless broadband networks and GPRS mobile communications technology to provide comprehensive mobile Internet service before all 3G operators are ready to provide their services. KGT presents the beliefs of wireless service, multimedia broadband service and Internet service as the criteria for company development, and the launch of i-mode is the fulfillment of these 3 beliefs.
Moreover, KGT's i-mode service enables roaming over Hong Kong, Singapore and Mainland China via its GPRS network and this actually fulfill KGT's vision to provide mobile broadband access in the Chinese region. The i-mode roaming service also available on June 20.
i-mode is the most successful Internet business model all over the telecom market worldwide. This service was launched in Japan in February 1999 and has attracted more than 33 million users 3 years after launch. The unique business model has highly reputed worldwide. Ever since NTT DoCoMo decided to become the main shareholder of KG Telecom by the yearend of 2000. DoCoMo has actively introduced its technical support and know-how of i-mode. KGT launched i-mode service today, and from now on, the telecom market in Taiwan will reinterpret the definition of mobile data service and a new telecom era is going to be created.
Leslie Koo further emphasized that: "Taiwan holds the best environment to operate i-mode service, the strengths including the high penetration of cellular phone users, the familiarization of Internet and the increasing demands for mobile data service. On the other hand, the advantages of KGT in the launch of i-mode service lie in the high quality of its GPRS networks and the technical and know-how support from DoCoMo. KGT views that people are getting more and more dependent on mobile phone in their daily life, and consumers have high expectation and demands for mobile data service, as a result, the diversified and abundant contents of i-mode will meet the needs of users."
Kei-ichi Enoki, Managing Director of NTT DoCoMo i-mode Business, stated: "i-mode is the most successful internet access service in all wireless markets worldwide. We are very certain that with the solid foundation and quality service KGT provides, coupled with DoCoMo's technical support and know-how, i-mode will bring enjoyment to consumers and new visions to Taiwan's wireless telecommunications industry. I am confident that the service will be widely accepted by users, achieving great success."
i-mode has attracted the most attention not only because its interesting and diversified contents, but also the win win situation between the operators and the content providers. i-mode provides content providers with reliable and systematic billing system, so the content providers can focus on creating quality contents to attract more consumers. In return, generating more usage and resulting in increased revenue. Therefore, for content providers, telecom operators and consumers, i-mode is the key that provides the best platform for cooperation and communication.
Because the language that i-mode uses is HTML subset for i-mode, which is the compact version of the widely used Internet language HTML. For content developers that are already operating websites or online shops on the Internet, it not only decreases the technological barrier and costs, but also makes it very easy for them to convert what they are doing in to fit the i-mode world. In addition, i-mode adapts user-friendly graphic platform and scroll-down menu that enables enjoyable user experience.
The contracted i-mode services belong to "i-mode menu", which can be classified into 17 categories, including real time news, mobile bank, stock exchange, gourmet guide, entertainment service, ring tone downloads, graphic downloads and so on, up to over 80 diverse service contents.
Another characteristic of i-mode is its email service. With i-mode email service, users can exchange email with other i-mode subscribers, and also with anyone who has an Internet email address. The email address is the phone number itself, and users can also change the username before "@" at their own preference. They can also insert up to 160 interesting graphics into their i-mode emails to make their emails more appealing.
Besides, i-mode also provides the feature of "web browsing", only by keying in the appointed URL, User can view the webpage which are created with HTML subset for i-mode. In the mean time, for those who can create a website with HTML subset for i-mode, they can just pass the associated URL to their friends or relatives to share personal messages.
There are 3 kinds of charges to i-mode services: the monthly subscription fee, packet transmission fee and i-mode information fee. The monthly fee is NT$168 (approximately 840,000 bytes), can be deducted by packet transmission fee; the other i-mode information charge varies from site to site, and mainly ranges from NT$20 to NT$50 per month. Packet transmission charges are based on the volume of data packets (NT$0.2 per 1000 bytes) transmitted and not on connection airtime.
The first i-mode compatible handset in Taiwan is NEC N530i, featuring 256 color display and 16 polyphonic ring tones. The most attractive offer is at 7900 for the handset bundling ha-la 900 monthly rates for voice transmission.
In addition, in order to further provide internationalized service, KGT's i-mode subscribers are able to enjoy i-mode service over Hong Kong, Singapore and Mainland China via its GPRS roaming service. When subscribers of i-mode are on business trip or travel overseas, through the Internet roaming across the region, they can receive the most updated information and service of i-mode anytime, anywhere without loss any important messages.