NTT DoCoMo, Inc., Japan's leading mobile communications provider, and Mobile TeleSystems OJSC, the largest mobile phone operator in Russia and the CIS, today announced that have formed an exclusive strategic partnership under which MTS will launch i-mode in Russia and other CIS countries. As a result of this agreement, i-mode will become available through 13 operations.
This long-term agreement, signed today by these two leading mobile operators, will allow MTS to offer i-mode services in Russia via its GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks, with DoCoMo providing its brand name, know-how and technology. MTS plans to introduce i-mode in Russia before December 2005.
In addition, MTS and DoCoMo will cooperate on the introduction of i-mode services in the other markets of the CIS in which MTS either maintains subsidiaries or manages operations. Under this agreement, i-mode services will be deployed in the Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Belarus.
Commenting on the agreement, Vassily Sidorov, MTS President and CEO said: "The introduction of i-mode will allow MTS to significantly broaden and diversify the range of services available to its customers. The experience of other European operators shows that i-mode provides for additional revenues, contributing to ARPU growth. Subscribers are attracted by the convenient interface, wide range of content and the affordable pricing of the service."
NTT DoCoMo's Executive Vice President, Managing Director of Products & Services, Kei-ichi Enoki, commented: "I am pleased and excited about the introduction of i-mode in Russia. The region has great potential for the growth of i-mode. We are very confident that MTS will be a strong ally throughout the region."
Already the world's most popular mobile Internet platform since its launch in 1999 in Japan, i-mode has more than 45 million subscribers using over 6,100 official content sites in 10 countries and regions. Subscribers have access to a large variety of Internet services, e-mail, and other applications through a wide range of innovative, multifunctional handsets developed specially for i-mode partners around the world.
The i-mode service is provided on an open platform based on de facto Internet standards. It has proven attractive to content and application providers, stimulating a vibrant content market with thousands of sites for customers to choose from. This agreement allows MTS to draw on its international experience to bring one of the world's leading services to consumers in Russia and the CIS.
The agreement with MTS marks DoCoMo's twelfth tie-up for the i-mode service. MTS joins an international i-mode alliance that includes E-Plus Mobilfunk GmbH & Co. KG (Germany), KPN Mobile N.V. (Netherlands), Far EasTone Telecommunications (Taiwan), BASE N.V./S.A (Belgium), Bouygues Telecom S.A. (France), Telefonica Moviles Espana (Spain), Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA (Italy), COSMOTE Mobile Telecommunications S.A (Greece), and Telstra Corporation Limited (Australia), Cellcom (Israel), and mmO2 (UK, Ireland and Germany).