The number of subscribers to NTT DoCoMo’s third-generation (3G) cellular telephone service hit 30 million Saturday.
The figure was reached just a little more than five years since NTT DoCoMo launched the service, which is branded “Foma” in Japan. On Oct. 1, 2001, the company became the first carrier in the world to commercialize wideband code division multiple access technology.
Subscriptions to Foma have been gaining pace as NTT DoCoMo phases out second-generation handsets and offers new features and services on 3G models only.
In addition to telephony, Internet access and other features now common on cell phones, the latest handsets can act as electronic wallets holding credit card and e-money payment applications that can be used to make purchases in shops with compatible terminals. Some models also include digital TV tuners and music players.
NTT DoCoMo has had more 3G subscribers than 2G subscribers since the middle of this year, and looking ahead it is pumping its yen into building up the 3G network. By the end of March 2007, the company intends to have increased the number of 3G base stations by 50 percent on the number in March 2006, and it’s also rolling out a high-speed data service based on high-speed downlink packet access.
-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)
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