This article is based on the Japanese version of Engadget and was created by machine translation.
NTT Docomo announced it will end 3G cellular service "FOMA" and Internet service for 3G "i-mode" on March 31, 2026.
FOMA is a mobile communication service that Docomo has been offering since the first 3G mobile phone was launched in 2001. It started from the high-speed communication of 384 kbps at the maximum in 2001, and it is getting faster. The number of FOMA subscriptions surpassed 57 million in 2011. In the previous earnings briefing, it was announced that it would end in the mid-2020s.
i-mode has a history dating back to the 2G era of 1999. It was an essential service for using Docomo Mail and Internet services on FOMA phones, but it will be terminated with the advent of smartphones. Some i-mode related services such as 'i-channel' and 'i concierge' will be notified when they will be terminated.
When NTT Docomo President Yoshizawa was asked about the termination of i-mode at the earnings press conference, he commented as follows.
i-mode was the pioneer of the mobile Internet and contributed to the expansion of the mobile Internet. On the other hand, most i-mode content and apps have actually been handed over to smartphones. I wonder if the end of the service will be seen as a trend of the times.
i-mode, which has been in service for 25 years, is a long-lasting service comparable to PHS in mobile communications. i-mode originated Emoji used throughout the world today. The New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) houses the emoji modeled after the original i-mode. Shigetaka Kurita (now COO of Dwango), who was involved in the development of i-mode in 1999 and is also called "The Father of Emoji", looks back on the development of i-mode on his own Twitter.
The good thing about the emoji I was involved with being added to MoMA's collection is that even after i-mode ends, 'i-mode logo' will remain in the future.— Shigetaka Kurita @sigekun) October 29, 2019
This article is based on the Japanese version of Engadget and was created by machine translation. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.