Timeline of NTT Docomo
This is a timeline of NTT Docomo, a Japanese mobile telecommunication services provider.
The following are some interesting questions that can be answered by reading this timeline:
- Which worldwide technology milestones were pioneered by NTT Docomo?
- What are important company acquisitions by NTT Docomo?
- What are some notable services launched by the company?
- What are some notable products launched by the company?
- What are some important partnerships?
|Time period||Development summary|
|1952–1985||Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation (NTTPC) prelude era. NTTPC is established as a corporation.|
|1985–1992||Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) prelude era. NTT is established as a private company.|
|1992 onwards||NTT DOCOMO era, which is formally established taking over the mobile communications business of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (“NTT Group”) as part of its corporate reorganization. in 1993, the company launches the mobile phone service (PDC). In 1997 it launches a packet communications service. In 1999, the company launches the world's first mobile Internet-services platform.|
|2000s||NTT DOCOMO becomes the first cellular operator in the world to offer commercial 3G services. By the late decade, the company reaches more than half of Japan's cellular market.|
|2010s||NTT DOCOMO introduces one of the earliest commercial LTE services. Tata Docomo becomes the first private sector telecom company to launch 3G services in India.|
|Year||Month and date||Event type||Details|
|1952||Early development||Nippon Denshin Denwa Kosha (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation (NTTPC)) is launched as a public corporation and becomes the main engine for Japanese telecommunications R&D.|
|1985||May 30||Early development||State-owned Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corp. is privatized as Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) amid liberalization of the telecommunications sector. Operating domestic telecommunications, it is considered "one of the most powerful sparks that lit the communications revolution in Japan".|
|1985||Product||NTT develops the first 'Shoulder phone', a car phone, that can be carried around in a shoulder trap.|
|1987||Product||NTT offers the first handheld cellular phone, primarily for professional and organizational purposes.|
|1989||Service||NTT launches a new digital standard, which creates a fast growth for subscribers.|
|1991||August||Founding||NTT Mobile Communications Network is established by the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) as a subsidiary to take over the mobile cellular operations. This unit would soon adopt the nickname DoCoMo, which stands for "Do Communications Over the Mobile Network". Operations commence at the Osaka Regional Marketing Branch.|
|1991||Market penetration||There are about 5.75 million pager subscribers in Japan, of which NTT has some 3.5 million.|
|1992||Administration||NTT MCN relocates head office to Ikebukuro from Koji-Machi, Chiyoda-Ku.|
|1992||Personnel||NTT MCN number of employees reaches 300.|
|1992||July 1||Reorganization||NTT MCN becomes an independent company and begins operations assuming control of mobile communications business of the reorganizing Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT). This event is considered to be the birth of NTT DoCoMo, after the cellular communications services of NTT are carved out from the former telecom monopolist's other lines of business.|
|1992||Service||NTT MCN launches the first analog cellular phone service.|
|1993||Service||Japan moves to digital mobile services as NTT MCN launches a new service based on Personal Digital Cellular (PDC) technology.|
|1993||March||Service||NTT MCN Launches mova 2G (800 MHz), its first digital cellular phone service.|
|1993||July||Administration||NTT MCN is reorganized into nine regional companies within Japan.|
|1993||Administration||NTT MCN establishes its Main Sales Division.|
|1993||Userbase||Nearly 70 percent of new NTT pager subscribers are individuals instead of companies.|
|1994||Background||The mobile phone market is opened to competition.|
|1994||April||Service||NTT MCN launches CITYPHONE 1.5 GHz digital cellular phone service in urban areas.|
|1996||Administration||NTT MCN relocates the head office to Nishigotanda from Ikebukuro.|
|1996||Mid-year||Personnel||NTT MCN employs about 500 engineers.|
|1996||Market growth||The adoption rate for mobiles in Japan reaches 25%.|
|1997||Financial||NTT MCN increases capital investment to 652.6 million JPY.|
|1997||March||Service||NTT MCN launches DoPa packet-data communications service, the first data communications service in Japan.|
|1998||Administration||NTT MCN establishes its urban information systems division.|
|1998||Recognition||NTT MCN acquires ISO9001 accreditation, an international standard used by organizations to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.|
|1998||October 12||Financial||NTT MCN goes public on the Nikkei 225 average. The company is registered under the ticker TYO:9437. NTT sells 30% of DoCoMo to the public.|
|1998||October 22||Financial||NTT MCN is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.|
|1998||December||Acquisition||NTT MCN assumes control of Personal Handyphone System (PHS) business from NTT Personal Group.|
|1998–1999||Product||NTT MCN morking team designer Shigetaka Kurita invents the Emoji, a pictographic language being adopted around the world. The first set of 176 12×12 pixel emoji is created as part of i-mode's messaging features to help facilitate electronic communication, and also to serve as a distinguishing feature from other services.|
|1999||February||Service||NTT MCN introduces its 2.5G i-mode, the first such service with national coverage.|
|1999||August||Growth||i-mode grows to 1 million subscribers.|
|1999||December||Growth||i-mode grows to 3 million subscribers.|
|2000||April||Renaming||Around its 15th anniversary, NTT Mobile Communications Network changes official name to NTT DoCoMo.|
|2000||September||Facility||The NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building opens. One of the tallest buildings in Tokyo, it houses base station equipment and switching equipment.|
|2000||Late year||Growth||There are 50 million Personal Digital Cellular (PDC) subscribers in Japan.|
|2000||December||Growth||i-mode grows to 15 million subscribers.|
|2000||License||The Japanese government awards 3G licenses to NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and J-Phone at no charge. This allows NTT Docomo to free up its cash stock for overseas investment.|
|2001||Recognition||NTT DoCoMo acquires ISO14001 accreditation, the international standard that specifies requirements for an effective environmental management system.|
|2001||May||Growth||i-mode grows to 23 million subscribers.|
|2001||Administration||NTT DoCoMo relocates the head office to Akasaka from Nishigotanda.|
|2001||Financial||NTT DoCoMo investment ratio increases to 100%.|
|2001||October||Service||NTT DoCoMo becomes the first cellular operator in the world to offer commercial 3G services (based on WCDMA) called Freedom of Mobile Multimedia Access (FOMA). The service becomes first available in the Greater Tokyo Area, Yokohama and Kawasaki.|
|2002||Personnel||NTT DoCoMo reaches 700 employees.|
|2002||Administration||NTT DoCoMo establishes its Operation Systems HQ, System Development Division and Service Operations Division.|
|2002||March||Financial||NTT DoCoMo is listed on London (delisted on March 2014) and New York stock exchanges.|
|2002||May 8||Administration||NTT DoCoMo states in a memorandum of understanding plans to convert its regional subsidiaries into wholly owned subsidiaries by way of share exchange.|
|2002||June 1||Service||NTT DoCoMo launches its i-shot service, allowing subscribers to transmit still images taken with compatible mobile phones having built-in cameras to virtually any device capable of receiving e-mail.|
|2003||January 14||Market penetration||DoCoMo i-shot handsets (camera phone) sales exceed 5 million.|
|2003||May 26||Service||NTT DoCoMo launches online shopping mall and account aggregation portal DoCommerce, which enables both 2G and 3G SSL-compatible i-mode handset users to manage their finances and shop online with their credit cards. The online mall launches with 10 virtual shops selling items such as accessories, perfumes and healthcare goods.|
|2003||June 3||Service||NTT DoCoMo announces a payments service to enable customers using 2G and 3G handsets to shop online at a dedicated portal site and receive bills for purchases together with their monthly mobile phone invoices.|
|2003||Administration||NTT DoCoMo establishes ERP Division and Technical Center.|
|2003||September||Growth||After achieving a peak of more than 62 million subscribers for PDC services in Japan, the Japanese mobile market embraces next-generation technologies based on CDMA technology.|
|2004||January 9||Service||NTT DoCoMo announces the launch of an i-mode Disaster Message Board service allowing i-mode subscribers in Japan to post personal messages at a special i-mode site (provided in Japanese only) in the event of major calamities such as high-magnitude earthquakes.|
|2004||January 29||Subsidiary||NTT DoCoMo announces the decision to liquidate its subsidiary, Mobimagic Co., an application service provider for medium and small-sized companies.|
|2004||March 24||Subsidiary||NTT DoCoMo announces the decision to liquidate DCM Capital LDN (United Kingdom) Limited, DCM Capital HKG (UK) Limited and DCM Capital 3G HKG (UK) Limited, each of which is a wholly owned subsidiary of DoCoMo.|
|2004||April||Product||NTT DoCoMo launches mova 506i series of three PDC (2G) i-mode mobile phones, a series of handsets featuring cameras with effective resolutions of more than one million pixels.|
|2004||Administration||NTT DoCoMo establishes Mobile Network Division and Security Services Division.|
|2004||December||Product||NTT DoCoMo launches the F901iC 3G FOMA handset, the latest model in the 901i series.|
|2005||November 24||Product||NTT DoCoMo announces launch of the FOMA SA800i, a child-friendly 3G mobile phone.|
|2005||December||Product||NTT DoCoMo launches iD credit brand.|
|2006||April||Service||NTT DoCoMo launches DCMX mobile credit-card service.|
|2006||Administration||NTT DoCoMo establishes Information Security Services Division.|
|2007||Administration||NTT DoCoMo establishes its Business Solution Headquarters, a System Integration Division, a Service Provider Division, a System Infrastructure Division, an Enterprise System Division, and an Information Security Department.|
|2007||October||Product||The prototype Wellness mobile phone of NTT Docomo and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. is launched at annual Japanese trade show CEATEC. It checks health with a motion sensor that detects body movement and measures calories, and includes a breathalyzer.|
|2007||December||Acquisition||NTT DoCoMo and KT Freetel jointly invest US$200 million for a total of 33% stake in U Mobile Malaysia.|
|2008||Service||NTT DoCoMo begins offering a service called the "Area Mail Disaster Information Service" which broadcasts Earthquake Early Warning messages produced by the Japan Meteorological Agency to its subscribers with compatible handsets.|
|2008||January 24||Partnership||NTT DoCoMo announces a partnership with Google, which allows all models after the FOMA904i models to view YouTube videos.|
|2008||February||Joint venture||NTT Investment Partners, Inc. (NTT-IP) is estqablished as a corporate venture capital firm by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT). The firm focuses on funding advanced/disruptive technologies, services and business models around the world and looks to leverage NTT Group companies’ business operations, technologies and vast network to its portfolio companies.|
|2008||March||Market||NTT DoCoMo reaches more than 53 million customers, which is more than half of Japan's cellular market.|
|2008||March||Venture capital||NTT DoCoMo establishes a JPY 10 billion venture fund, the NTT Investment Partners Fund, L.P. (NTT-IP Fund).|
|2008||April 19||Leadership||NTT DoCoMo Ryuji Yamada is promoted as the president of NTT Docomo. Masao Nakamura stays as a director and senior adviser. |
|2008||June||Partnership||NTT DoCoMo joins the non-profit Symbian Foundation led by Nokia to co-develop a new Symbian smartphone operating system based on the S60 platform, which results in Symbian^2 for the Japanese market.|
|2008||November||Acquisition||NTT DoCoMo acquires a 26% stake in Tata Teleservices for US$2.7 billion.|
|2008||Administration||NTT DoCoMo establishes a Customer Information Systems Division, a Billing Systems Division, an Enterprise Information Systems Division, an Information Systems Infrastructure Division, a Business Intelligence Systems Division, a Service Platform Division, a System Development Division, and a Public Enterprise Business Division.|
|2009||June||Service||The Tata Docomo service is commercially launched in India.|
|2009||July 5||Acquisition||NTT DoCoMo acquires San Diego, California-based PacketVideo for US$157.1 million. PacketVideo produces software for wireless multimedia that includes the display of video on mobile handsets.|
|2009||December 3||Acquisition||NTT DoCoMo acquires net mobile AG, a publicly traded business-to-business service provider.|
|2010||April||Financial||NTT DoCoMo raises fund size of NTT-IP Fund to JPY 15 billion.|
|2010||Administration||NTT DoCoMo establishes CliNIC Division.|
|2010||June||Market penetration||Tata Docomo reaches about 32.82 million users.|
|2010||November 5||Service||Tata Docomo becomes the first private sector telecom company to launch 3G services in India.|
|2010||December||Service||NTT DoCoMo launches one of world's first Long-Term Evolution (LTE) services, Xi (read "crossy").|
|2011||Administration||NTT DoCoMo establishes its Enterprise Solution Division.|
|2011||June||Partnership||NTT DoCoMo announces team with McAfee to provide McAfee VirusScan Mobile for its Android mobile users.|
|2012||March||Service||NTT DoCoMo shifts customer base completely to 3G and LTE services.|
|2012||July||Acquisition||NTT DoCoMo acquires Italian company Buongiorno for 209 million euros.|
|2012||July||Joint venture||NTT DoCoMo and Japanese electronics company Omron establish docomo Healthcare Inc, a new company with the purpose to design, develop and provide healthcare support services.|
|2012||August 10||Acquisition||NTT DoCoMo acquires mobile commerce ecosystem Buongiorno for US$260 million.|
|2012||Administration||NTT DoCoMo establishes a Web System Division, and a Corporate Social Responsibility Department.|
|2013||February||Acquisition||NTT DoCoMo acquires NTT-IP with the purpose to strengthen cooperation with startup companies in terms of venture funding and incubation. The DOCOMO Innovation Fund Partnership is established as a JPY 10 billion new venture fund and the DOCOMO’s Incubation Program starts operating.|
|2013||Administration||NTT DoCoMo establishes its Enterprise Solution Division.|
|2013||Recognition||NTT DoCoMo acquires ISO39001 accreditation.|
|2013||July||Renaming||NTT DoCoMo changes its trade name to NTT DOCOMO Ventures, Inc.|
|2013||August 27||Acquisition||NTT DoCoMo acquires Austrian e-commerce solution provider Fine Trade.|
|2013||October||Renaming||NTT DoCoMo, Inc. changes official name to NTT DOCOMO, INC.|
|2014||January||Venture capital||NTT DOCOMO establishes a JPY 10 billion venture fund, NTT Investment Partners Fund II, L.P. (NTT-IP Fund II).|
|2014||Administration||NTT DOCOMO establishes Cloud Business Division, DOCOMO IT Systems Division, DOCOMO IT Infrastructure Division, DOCOMO Business Division, Legal & Contract Department, Internal Audit Department, and a Quality Control Department.|
|2014||July||Program launch||NTT DOCOMO starts operating new business co-creation program in cooperation with startup, 39works.|
|2014||Service||Under Civil Protection Law of Japan, Docomo begins offering a service called the "Area Mail Disaster and Evacuation Information Service" which broadcasts J-Alert messages (including Earthquake Early Warning) produced by the Japan Fire and Disaster Management Agency to its subscribers with compatible handsets (e.g. Sony XPERIA, iPhone 5s, Samsung Galaxy).|
|2014||October||NTT DOCOMO Successfully Trials network functions virtualization NFV Using Multi-vendors' Virtualization Systems.|
|2015||Administration||NTT DOCOMO establishes its IT Security Division.|
|2015||March 27||Service||NTT DOCOMO launches Premium 4G, a LTE Advanced service.|
|2015||October 1||Merger||DOCOMO Capital announces its merger with DOCOMO Innovations.|
|2015||Year round||Financial||NTT DOCOMO generates JPY 4.4 trillion in annual revenue, down from JPY 4.5 trillion recorded in 2014.|
|2016||April||NTT DOCOMO shifts new business co-creation program 39works to NTT DOCOMO.|
|2016||Acquisition||NTT DOCOMO acquires "Kurumin", a next generation support certification logo.|
|2017||January||International expansion||NTT DOCOMO launches its NTT DOCOMO Ventures' Silicon Valley branch in the United States.|
|2017||Acquisition||NTT DOCOMO acquires the highest position of "Eruboshi", based on Act to advance women's success in their working life.|
|2017||February||Product||NTT DOCOMO announes a new eSIM platform that would enable companion consumer devices embedded with subscriber identity modules (eSIM), including tablets and wearables, to connect to mobile networks through remote provisioning of the profile.|
|2017||May||Service||NTT DOCOMO launches 5G trial networks at Aomi, Odaiba (Tokyo Waterfront City) and the area around Tokyo Skytree.|
|2017||October||Venture capital||NTT DOCOMO establishes a JPY 15 billion new venture fund, DOCOMO Innovation Fund II, L.P.|
|2017||November 28||Product||In collaboration with international digital security company Gemalto, NTT DOCOMO announces development of the world's first multi-profile SIM "for use through multi-carrier collaborations that can allow users to switch between profiles, which include data such as contract information and telephone numbers, on their smartphone or tablet in each country."|
|2018||Administration||NTT DOCOMO Establishes IoT Division, Sales Channel Promotion Division Certified as a Health and Productivity Management Organization (White 500).|
|2018||Recognition||NTT DOCOMO receives the Certification of Silver (Gin-no-Nintei).|
|2018||July||Venture capital||NTT DOCOMO establishes a JPY 20 billion venture fund, NTT Investment Partners Fund III, L.P. (NTT-IP Fund III).|
|2018||Recognition||NTT DOCOMO manages employee health from business management standpoint and is certified “White 500” Recognition for Excellence in Health and Productivity Management.|
|2018||November 29||Research||NTT DOCOMO and Toyota announce successful joint control of the Toyota-developed T-HR31 humanoid robot in trials using 5G under a test environment with control from a remote location.|
|2018||December 28||Acquisition||NTT DOCOMO acquires Conobie, a Japanese website about parenting that provides articles and short comics about pregnancy, childbirth, childcare, and parenting.|
|2019||February 4||Technology||NTT DOCOMO announces development of the world's first 8K 3D virtual reality system for live video streaming and viewing at 60 frames per second (fps) over 5G mobile communications.|
|2019||February 18||Recognition||NTT DOCOMO is ranked as the leading mobile operator in the world in terms of applications for candidate standard-essential patents (SEPs) for the new fifth-generation (5G) mobile communication standard. The company is also ranked first in terms of 5G technical proposals (contributions). The rankings are based on a study conducted by Japanese firm Cyber Creative Institute Co.|
|2019||July 31||Product||NTT DOCOMO announces development of an application programming interface for its docomo sky drone-operation platform and uses the API to "successfully integrate docomo sky with NEXSYS-ONE's tower maintenance platform in a joint trial, demonstrating the possibility to use drones for automated inspections and maintenance of mobile-network base-station towers."|
|2019||Administration||NTT DOCOMO Establishes Sales Channel Promotion Department, Security Operation Center, Web Systems Department, SE & Business Support Center, Human Resources and Development Department, and Western Branch.|
|2019||May 17||Product||NTT DOCOMO announces development of a drone that is propelled safely through the air with ultrasonic vibrations, which make it appropriate for concert halls and other indoor spaces.|
|2019||May 23||Research||NTT DOCOMO announces research in collaboration with Tohoku University, of an artificial-intelligence technology to detect periodontal disease simply by photographing a person's gums with a smartphone.|
|2019||December 5||Research||NTT DOCOMO and Kyoto University announce joint development of what is believed to be the world's first artificial intelligence-based system for inspecting bridges based on vehicle weights and structural deflection estimated from video footage.|
|2019||December 20||Acquisition||NTT DOCOMO announces purchase of all shares of docomo Healthcare, Inc. and make it a wholly owned subsidiary of NTT DOCOMO.|
|2020||January 17||Product||NTT DOCOMO announces world's first trial of a prototype transparent dynamic metasurface using 28 GHz 5G radio signals. The prototype is a collaboration with glass manufacturing company AGC Inc.|
|2020||July||Infrastructure||NTT DOCOMO plans to have 5G base stations in all 47 Japanese prefectures by this time.|
|2021||Spring||Infrastructure||NTT DOCOMO plans to reach a total of 10,000 5G base stations by this time.|
|2026||March||Service shutdown||NTT DOCOMO plans to discontinue its internet-capable mobile phone system i-mode (introduced in 1999) by this time, due to a dwindling number of users.|
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