Why 'i-mode' mobile platform failed to succeed outside Japan: An analysis from a business model perspective

Mutaz M. Al-Debei, Enas Al-Lozi, Omar Al-Hujran, Anas Aloudat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Mobile data platforms were firstly introduced to the world by the Japanese telecommunication company, NTT DoCoMo, through its i-mode service which was developed on the basis of modest technology. I-mode mobile platform offers a portfolio of bundled and well-balanced services. In Japan, i-mode is huge and the number of its current users is substantial. After a few years from its roll-out in Japan, NTT DoCoMo launched the service in many other countries in different parts of the world. Unlike the service success in Japan, i-mode seems unsuccessful in the chosen international markets. Hence, this paper aims at examining why i-mode service is very successful in Japan and not in the overseas markets where the service has been launched. To this end, this paper utilises the business model concept as an analytical lens. The outcome of this study suggests that the success or failure of mobile platforms can hardly be attributed to a single reason. Based on our analysis, the success of mobile platforms is heavily driven by the design of the service business model, and the fit between the business model (BM) of the mobile platform and its context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-416
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Business Innovation and Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Business model
  • I-mode
  • MDS
  • Mobile data services
  • Value network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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