NEC partners with Bouygues Telecom to enable launch of enhanced mobile services in France. [ 02:30 ]
Bouygues Telecom has always been known as a pioneer since introducing the first pay-as-you-go talk plan in France. So the telecoms giant were always looking for new areas into which to expand their business.
The challenge was to provide more services via its telephones. Specifically, it wanted to provide data and internet services to mobile phones.But what platform would best suit Bouygues' ambitions for its business?
Bouygues turned to Japan and its i-Mode service. This service had already proved to be a success in Japan where no fewer than 45 million people use it as a mobile internet service.
Bouygues Telecom selected NEC as its i-mode platform provider thanks to its long experience on i-mode with its creator, NTT DoCoMo.
I-Mode, was, and still is, revolutionary. It allows access to standard web pages, making it much easier to launch mobile internet services. It uses a simplified HTML called cHTML that allows internet content to be transmitted to the phone.
Olivier Belpaire, Multimedia Engineering Director, Bouygues Telecom
We want the best for our customers, and i-mode is the best multi-media service, isn't it. That's why we have chosen it.
And NEC had the whole service up and running in just six months. Such was the integrated nature of the partnership, the two companies even shared premises. NEC sent a team of expert Japanese engineers to France to start working with Bouygues to localize the i-mode platform to suit the French market.
Olivier Belpaire. Bouygues
What we appreciate with NEC in their ability to customize their standard products in order to fit our needs or our constraints, not only they develop the services for us, but also they integrate their services in our network, and in our IT architecture.
With NEC's help, Bouygues now offers internet services to its expanding customer base. For NEC, introducing i-mode to France proved once again its ability to customize its systems with speed and reliability.
Bouygues Telecom has always been known as a pioneer. After "democratising" the mobile with the first pay-as-you-go talk plan in France, the telecoms giant innovated yet again with the launch of i-mode in 2002.
The third largest mobile phone provider in France had the ambition to bring the i-mode's mobile internet to its customers. The platform had already proved its success in Japan, where no less than 45m people use NTT DoCoMo's 3G mobile internet service.
I-mode, was, and still is, revolutionary. It allows access to standard web pages, making it much easier to launch mobile Internet services. It is already the world's most popular mobile internet platform with more than 6,000 official content sites in 10 countries and regions.
So in April 2002, Bouygues Telecom signed a deal with NTT DoCoMo, which licenses i-mode. Bouygues Telecom selected NEC as its i-mode platform provider thanks to its long experience with i-mode.
Olivier Belpaire, Multimedia Engineering Director of Bouygues Telecom says: "We asked NEC to develop it for us, mainly because they were already successful in Asia and because they agreed to localize the creative team to support the project. Moreover, NEC was committed to the project schedule, and to an end-to-end quality of service."
The project was challenging enough because of the quality of the solution required. But it was also going to be a race against time. Come what may, the service had to launch in time for the crucial Christmas sales period.
NEC immediately dispatched a team of Japanese engineers to France and trained NEC local staff team to adapt and scale down the Japanese i-mode platform to suit Bouygues Telecom requirements.
Just six months later, Bouygues Telecom's i-mode services launched in November, and rapidly started to win customers. The appeal of 'always on' mobile internet access has been a true success.
In the words of Olivier Belpaire, "We were very impressed with NEC's ability to customize standard products in order to fit our constraints, to integrate their services into our IT architecture, and the efficient transfer of skills from Japan."
Since then Bouygues Telecom has, with NEC's help, gone on to extend its services. For example in autumn 2005 Bouygues Telecom launched a new i-mode broadband service with video streaming at a flat-rate monthly subscription.
Nicolas Roger, Value Added Services Department Manager for NEC is justifiably proud: "Our team can meet every challenge it is given with extensive commitment. Thanks to the stability of the software delivered from NEC Japan, it is of course easier". The project also proved how well French and Japanese engineers could work together. "If I were to define culture at NEC, it would be respect for the customer by providing a quality solution on time," says Nicolas.
For NEC, introducing i-mode to France demonstrated its ability to deliver superb software solutions and integration skills that help clients gain a competitive advantage for the markets of the future.