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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 March, 2004, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Japanese rush to buy 3G mobiles
Japanese mobile user
Japanese mobile users are snapping up 3G services
Japanese mobile telephone company NTT DoCoMo has said more than three million people have signed up for its third-generation (3G) service.

More than one million users switched to the option in the past month.

DoCoMo launched the world's first 3G service in 2001, enabling callers to see each other and send video footage via their phones.

Its success is being watched closely in Europe where there has been huge investment in 3G services.

Recent popularity

DoCoMo aimed to sign up 2.4 million users for its Foma service by the end of the financial year.

Surpassing that figure, the company said it expected its subscriber base to continue to grow at a "rapid pace".

It recently introduced 900i telephones which contain cameras, a hi-fi sound system and video.

Earlier, take-up for DoCoMo's service had been sluggish due to the bulky and costly handsets on offer and competition from rival provider KDDI.

Mobile companies have spent huge sums on setting up ultra-rapid 3G services, which allow subscribers to surf the internet and send audio and video clips using their handsets.

But consumer appetite for the technology has been lukewarm in Europe so far, stirring fears that mobile operators may have difficulty recouping their investment.

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