Some observers have been skeptical of the ability of NTT DoCoMo to go global. The main argument from the skeptics is18 that, first, due to its association with NTT, DoCoMo has been sheltered in Japan. Examples of this are DoCoMo’s ability to set the specifications for handsets- not the
of the handsets! Moreover, DoCoMo did not have to bid for the wireless spectrum in Japan. It was simply given to them because of NTT’s stature. Also, DoCoMo was able to dip into NTT’s existing customer base.
In addition, DoCoMo will not be able to control the entire user experience in other countries. In Japan, the company controls all aspects of the user experience- Design and sale of the handsets, Types of calling plans and rate structure, Billing and service options, Number and type of official content providers etc. This will not be easy to replicate in countries outside Japan.
Naturally, the market characteristics may be different. Remember, in Japan, to many users the Internet/Web is synonymous with I-Mode because of low PC penetration. The big question is if Americans (and users in other markets) will be as taken by this technology after being jaded with years of the PC-based Internet/Web. Nobody in the US has tried to price based on the packet. Many have said that Americans are used to simple pricing schemes and this may not work. The usual issue of cultural differences is also brought up. Will American teenagers be excited by the same things as Japanese teenagers? Finally, the technology may not be ready in American and European markets. The necessary infrastructure may not be in place for these phones. Building a packet-switched network may take time. The hardware may have to be modified to make it compatible with the new types of content. Since DoCoMo has no experience of growing and expanding the...