NTT DoCoMo says it has now reached the 10m subscriber mark in Japan for its 3G mobile phone service.
It has taken NTT since October 2001 to reach the 10m mark, after initially launching the service in Tokyo and other large cities.
In 2001 many of NTT's existing subscribers were using the 2G i-mode service, which worked much faster and offered more content than the European WAP equivalent, so there was less of a rush for NTT to go for a big bang 3G roll-out.
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DoCoMo attributes recent rapid 3G subscriber growth to its expanding range of 3G handsets and increased demand for videophone communication, which demands the data access "head-room" that 3G provides.
Subscriptions have also been stimulated by flat-rate payment plans which offer low-cost access to i-mode 3G services.
Unlike in Europe, NTT's service is also available on Japanese underground rail networks.