Can TMTDW leverage the expertise gained in building its Tokyo i-mode site to do likewise when i-mode is launched in the United States? That's still an open question, but if it can, the rewards might be immense.
Consider that in the second fiscal quarter (JanuaryMarch) of 2001, TD Waterhouse reported that its cash earnings, at $16.9 million, were down 80% from the year before; net income was $6.5 million, compared to $76.6 million from the preceding year; and new account openings totaled 169,200 at an average cost of $125 per account. The company is obviously under pressure to boost revenues and earnings and decrease the cost of customer acquisition.
Furthermore, trades per day (arguably the most significant metric for an online broker) reached 124,200, 74% of which were completed online. This number was down a whopping 51% from the preceding year. Is TD Waterhouse, like other online brokers, looking for ways to increase the number of trades daily and to move a greater percentage online? Guessing yes is a safe conclusion, and it's a further safe conclusion to guess that wireless access plays a key role in the firm's strategic planning. From this point of view, it looks like the capital expenditure required to launch the TMTDW site on i-mode was money that was extremely well spent.