In slightly over two years, NTT DoCoMo, Japan's leading wireless telecommunications network provider, has been able to win over 30,000,000 subscribers to i-mode, its mobile Internet service. I-mode represents the first successful implementation of the convergence of the Internet and mobile telephony into a new industry. This article examines the origins of i-mode's success, both in terms of NTT DoCoMo's technological strategy and business model and why Japan has proven such a fruitful environment for mobile Internet. It also explores whether i-mode's success provides a global first-mover advantage to NTT DoCoMo's plans to employ strategic partnerships to spread the i-mode standard.
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