CosmOTE, DoCoMo strike deal

CosmOTE, Greece’s leading mobile telecommunications company, and Japan’s leading mobile telephony provider and the second largest in the world, NTT DoCoMo, yesterday announced a strategic partnership to introduce in Greece the i-mode, a wireless Internet service over mobile phones and other multifunctional handsets, such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). CosmOTE will offer its i-mode service over its GPRS network UMTS networks – two-and-a-half and third-generation networks, respectively. «The service launch will be targeted to precede the Athens 2004 Olympic Games,» the companies said. «The expansion of i-mode has been quite steady and successful. We are very pleased with the present partnership, which represents i-mode’s entry into its seventh European market,» said NTT DoCoMo President and CEO Keiji Tachikawa. The i-mode service is already available, since 2002, in six countries outside Japan: Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Taiwan. It is due to start in Italy by the end of this year. It has attracted 1 million subscribers in these countries. In Japan, where i-mode was introduced in 1999, it has 39 million subscribers, about a third of the population. CosmOTE and DoCoMo will also cooperate on the introduction of i-mode services in other markets where CosmOTE either maintains subsidiaries (AMC in Albania) or manages operations (Globul in Bulgaria and Cosmofon in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). The announcement of the deal helped CosmOTE shares close up 2.3 percent, at 10.66 euros.