KPN to walk with i-mode before running with 3G

3G 'lite', anyone?

3G 'lite', anyone?

Just as KPN's i-mode service becomes a reality in the Netherlands, the Dutch carrier has appeared to have backtracked on its timetable for rolling out more advanced 3G mobile phone services. Ludolf Rasterhoff, an executive at KPN Mobile, yesterday said his unit will offer 3G services in one city by 2004, reports the FT. Previously, the company had said 3G will arrive "in the second half of 2003". KPN is among a number of incumbents across Europe with large debts, mostly racked up through the purchase of 3G licences across the continent, and it would be a surprise if it does not seek an early return on its licence investments. KPN Mobile is part-owned by NTT DoCoMo, the Japanese mobile operator that made its proprietary i-mode standard a success in its domestic market.