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NTT DoCoMo designed the W-CDMA air interface, which is a kind of Direct Sequence CDMA (DS-CDMA), during the late 1990s. Later, it was authorized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as one of the air interfaces for the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000).
It was recognized by European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) as one of the three air interfaces for UMTS. FOMA was the first technology that featured high-speed 3G technology capable to give mobile phones many of the same functions as personal computers (PCs).
The FOMA 3G service allows customers to experience more sophisticated and faster services from NTT DoCoMo. The i-mode mobile Internet service took advantage of the faster and better data transfer rate.
The initial FOMA service included a packet communication service with a downlink speed of up to 384kbps and a circuit-switched service providing an uplink of 64kbps to upload large-volume data.
Users were able to see videos, still images as well as other multimedia contents with the help of a laptop computer backed up by a 3G network card or a mobile terminal. NTT DoCoMo delivers a broad range of FOMA-branded terminals, which are intended only for the Japanese market.