NTT Docomo to discontinue decades-old i-mode internet service in 2026


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The end of an era, this technology was revolutionary at the time and the effects are still seen today in regards to website design in Japan.

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Wow! I got my last i-mode phone in 2010!! It was an N model. I still have a nostalgic feeling for it. i-mode was really useful prior to the advent of smartphones. And I must say that I never made a butt dial with that phone.

Kudos to Docomo for announcing the end of the i-mode service..... 6 years in advance!! Honestly, that is pretty darn considerate of them! And my guess is that it is because there are so many customers, especially older customers who STILL don't want to have to get an expensive smartphone!!

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NTT Docomo Inc said Tuesday it will stop services of i-mode, an internet-capable mobile phone system introduced in 1999, at the end of March 2026 due to the dwindling number of users.

From i-mode to iPhone!

Apple’s smartphones write the death certificate for i-mode, a technology that was impressive at its launch, but failed to attract an international audience It’s both amazing and unfortunate that after numerous attempts, NTT Docomo could never take i-mode global. As a result, Apple dominated the smartphone market, not only in the US, but also in Japan itself. RIP i-mode!

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Incredible technology that gets the all the more impressive when you consider that it was released in 1999. Comparing a phone sold in the west and one sold in Japan showcased Japan's amazing tech expertise.

As @HJSLLS said, it's a big big shame that they didn't really take advantage of the chance they had to completely dominate the world market. Although, one would argue that those advanced keitai's of the day were a little too advanced for the west...?

It's saddening seeing the country that gave birth to the modern idea of the smartphone, no longer using their own, for the most part (according to market share statistics), smartphones, like Sharp's or Sony's, in favour of Apple's.

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And even the small letter "i" part was copied by Apple.

Japan has always been the leader in mobile communications. The Japanese WCDMA protocol was the best technology in the world but was never adopted outside Japan because of US economic and trade threats to use the US standard of CDMA so US company Qualcomm would reap the patent royalties instead of NTT.

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....showcased Japan's amazing tech expertise.

Not really. It was a workaround of the situation in Japan whereby standard internet services were woefully lacking. The penetration rate of Internet in the home and office used to be well below rates in the West, and many wireless technologies like wi-fi came late to Japan. I saw my first hot spot in Vietnam (there were none in Japan), and my first IP in Japan was AT&T!

I didnt go in for i-mode, because I preferred to "surf" the net on the big screen, not on a postage- stamp size screen, and shop on Amazon, and so I relied on AT&T.

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The big problem with J-feature phones was that the features are specific to the phone and not cross-platform, so whenever ya change phones, it's a hassle. And the User Interface looked like they were designed by engineers for engineers, instead of user-friendly for regular users

The apps on iOS and Android phones changed all that

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If only NTT had been less proud and been a little more flexible re: our way or no way. For years NTT execs refused smartphones onto their playform believing they had the best system. That stubbornness allowed Softbank to actually make money as the only provider to carry the iphone.

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