“The lesson that DoCoMo learnt early is the obvious one: that content and services sell. Technology does not.
It is the services – picture messaging, easy direction finding, finance, games, and hundreds more – which took i-mode to critical mass and beyond.
That, and a payment model which meant that independent companies automatically get a sizeable slice of the one-off payment which each service adds to a user’s bill at the end of the month.
That model stands in sharp contrast to
Europe’s Wap services, where getting beyond a “walled garden” of operator-sanctioned services was too complicated for the average punter.
That made sure that they kept most of the money. But DoCoMo and its peers saw that a smaller slice of the cake was fine – as long as the cake just kept on growing.”