O2 has released details of the i-mode service it will offer in the UK. This is a mobile Internet service, created by NTT DoCoMo in Japan six years ago. Four new phones, from Samsung and NEC, will all have an i-mode button and Blackberry-style push e-mail. The service will allow customers to do many of the same functions they do on the Internet today, such as banking, shopping and buying tickets, all on their mobiles.

The two services will charge the same 3 per megabyte price, but the i-mode service will be free till the end of the year, for contract customers, and for a month for pre-pay users. E-mail will be free until April, and then be charged at the same rate as text messages.

O2 will start offering i-mode in Ireland next week and in Germany during the first half of next year.