In Japan, the first mobile phone small enough to fit in a pocket was rolled out in 1991. It was launched by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) under the brand name mova. When this bundle of sophisticated technology debuted, it garnered attention in Japan and overseas as the world's smallest mobile phone handset. Mova's subsequent migration from analog to digital technology spurred call quality improvement and data communications use. At the same time, we expanded our base station network from "lines" alongside roads to "webs" covering major areas like business and shopping centers. Further, we introduced a string of measures including the elimination of security deposits, the introduction of a handset purchase system, and smaller handsets to rapidly expand the user base. Mobile phones started out as a status symbol for executives and the wealthy, but gained traction as a business tool and eventually as a personal tool.
Before mobile phones went mainstream, our Pocket Bell pagers gave birth to a pager friend craze, and then 10 Yen Mail and Short Mail services became popular for mobile phone services and fueled the spread of the texting culture, mainly among young people and women. We launched our i-mode service in 1999, enabling users to send and receive e-mail with pictograms as well. The service was a huge hit with younger people.
When Internet access was added to the mix, mobile phones went beyond talk to become a tool to use-moving into the position of IT infrastructure. We began offering the world's first third-generation (3G) mobile communication service, FOMA, in 2001. The service enabled high call quality and high-speed data transmission to allow for the exchange of diverse information including music and images, opening the doors to the mobile multimedia world. This was followed by a stream of assorted specifications, from water resistance to cameras, GPS, and the Osaifu-Keitai e-wallet. We fostered the evolution of mobile phones, repeatedly pushing the envelope to usher in multimedia, ubiquitous, global communications.
We are also taking services to new levels. The birth of our i-channel content distribution, One-Seg terrestrial digital television, and iD credit payment service have furthered the advancement of mobile phones into every corner of life. In addition, we bolstered measures to ensure safety and peace of mind with respect to mobile phone use. Specific steps include the launch of Kids' PHONE, and provision of Mobile Phone Protection & Delivery service, Data Security service, and Area Mail disaster information services.
Then, in 2008, when mobile phones were becoming a fixture of everyday life, DOCOMO unveiled its medium-term vision "Change and Challenge to Achieve New Growth." The vision's ultimate goal is to raise customer satisfaction by focusing on our existing customers. Leveraging mobile platform attributes such as real-time, personal authentication and positional information functions, we developed mobile phones into tools supporting individual tasks rather than life in general to deliver greater convenience to our customers. Then, in 2009, we launched smartphones with the Android operating system, ushering in the smartphone era in Japan and bringing even bigger change to the market.
DOCOMO's new era dawned with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, and the start of Xi service, a next-generation communications platform based on LTE, realizing high speed, large capacity, and low latency. On the services front, in step with the full-on uptake of smartphones, in 2011 we began offering d-menu and d-market, and released smartphone-compatible versions of i-channel and i-concier. We also put Japan's first broadcasting station for smartphones-NOTTV-on air in 2012.
Going forward, we will continue our pursuit of the "evolution of mobile services offering expandable services in an open environment." Our goal is to offer customers greater safety, peace of mind, convenience, and efficiency in their personal and business lives through mobile phones. We aspire to make a fulfilling, smart life a reality.
During 20 years of business, the number of DOCOMO mobile phone subscribers has grown to over 60 million. Today, DOCOMO is evolving its service offerings further by creating new value and the development of business models from the convergence of mobile and other industries. We at DOCOMO would again like to express our gratitude to all of our stakeholders over the last two decades, and are united in a commitment to achieving greater growth.