i-Mode - Introduction

i-Mode, stands for Internet Mode is a microbrowser technology that supports text, graphics, audio, and video for Web access over the Japanese cellular network. It was introduced by a team led by Mari Matsunaga in February 1999 at NTT DoCoMo

Fortune Magazine recently selected Mari Matsunaga as one of the most powerful women in business in Japan.

i-Mode is one of the most successful services offering wireless web browsing and e-mail services from mobile phones in Japan.

i-Mode provides packet-data transmission, which enables operators to charge their customers according to the volume of data transmitted and users do not pay for the time they are connected to a website or service.

Transmission between the handhelds and the i-Mode-enabled cell sites is via packet mode, using packets of 128 octets at high-speed data transmission rates.

i-Mode customer base is increasing exponentially every day in the whole world and is being provided worldwide through DoCoMo's partners through a licensing scheme.

The current i-Mode center is called CiRCUS in DoCoMo's Kawasaki office and the operation support system is called CARNiVAL, which is hosted in the Toranomon JT Building.

There are DoCoMo's competitors in the market who launched very similar mobile data services − KDDI launched EZweb, and J-Phone launched J-Sky etc.

i-Mode History

Year Milestone
Feb. 1999 i-mode service launched
Dec. 1999 i-mode compatible handsets with color screens are marketed
Jan. 2001 i-appli service launched
Jul. 2001 i-area service launched
Nov. 2001 i-motion service launched
Jun. 2002 i-shot service launched
Jan. 2003 i-motion mail service launched
Jul. 2004 "Osaifu-Keitai" service launched
Sep. 2005 i-channel service launched
Nov. 2005 "ToruCa" info-capture function offering started
Dec. 2005 "iD" credit card brand launched
Apr. 2006 "DCMX" mobile credit services launched
Oct. 2006 keyword search service for i-mode launched