THE DIFFUSION OF I-MODE OVERSEAS: A PERSPECTIVE OF INSTITUTIONAL DIFFERENCES
The Japanese telecom giant DoCoMo launched promoted its proprietary i-mode mobile services in 1999 and overseas in 2002. Diffusion overseas was much slower than expected, however. This paper investigates the diffusion of Japanese i-mode mobile internet in Europe from an institutional perspective, focusing on five earlier i-mode overseas operators located in Taiwan, The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and France. We found four strategic institutional levers that stimulated i-mode domestic diffusion but failed to appear in overseas areas: operator leadership, subscriber scale, mobile penetration rate, and the ability of the firm to coordinate capability among complements. We propose strategies to internationalize a new standard by co-branding with local vendors and by using penetration pricing as an incentive for switching. Additionally, we recommend an industrial policy that drives cannibalization to facilitate mobile migration to a more advanced standard.
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