Launched in Japan on 22 February 1999 and planned and designed by a team led by Mari Matsunaga, NTT DoCoMo's i-mode is a wireless Internet service admired in Japan and is gaining foot in other parts of the world, such as Israel (Cellcom being the main company to sell i-mode phones and service there). Top executive Keiichi Enoki oversaw the technical and overall development while Takeshi Natsuno was responsible for the business development. i-mode advert on the London Underground. Rivals KDDI and J-Phone launched EZweb and J-sky respectively and by June 2006, these three major mobile data services have over 80 million subscribers in Japan. J-Phone including J-Sky was later acquired by Vodafone and renamed as Vodafone Live! Vodafone adapted J-Sky as Live for Europe and other markets.
I-mode borrows from fixed Internet data formats such as C-HTML based on HTML, as well as DoCoMo proprietary protocols ALP (HTTP) and TLP (TCP, UDP) in contrast with the WAP standard, which uses WML on top of a specific protocol stack for wireless handheld devices. I-mode was a hug hit for its well-designed services and business model and also due to the strong demand for mobile email services.