KPN welcomes 100,000th European I-mode user

The European I-mode mobile Internet subscriber count has passed 100,000 and is on track to hit a million next year, Dutch KPN Mobile NV said Wednesday.

KPN Mobile, based in The Hague, Netherlands, was the first to offer I-mode outside Japan through its German subsidiary E-Plus Mobilfunk GmbH & Co. KG. The German service began on March 16 and now has over 77,000 subscribers. KPN Mobile introduced I-mode in the Netherlands a month later and now has 23,000 subscribers, it said in a statement.

In Japan, I-mode was introduced by its inventor NTT DoCoMo Inc. in February 1999 and now has over 34 million users, according to the NTT DoCoMo Web site.

KPN Mobile, which licensed I-mode for its businesses in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, expects to have 100,000 subscribers in the Netherlands by the end of the year and several hundred thousand in Germany, the company has said. The Belgian service has not yet been launched, but is being tested, KPN Mobile said.

Growth in subscriber numbers in the Netherlands-tripled since late May-has been helped by a major marketing campaign and special offers; an I-mode handset now sells for