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Japan Launches 3rd Generation Mobile Phones - 2001-10-01

Japan has launched the sale of third-generation mobile phone handsets, which promise to relay information at incredible speed. It is the first time that this revolutionary new technology is available to consumers.

The Japanese are among the world's top users of mobile phones, both for voice and data transmission. Now, a new and better standard of service is available in Japan.

NTT DoCoMo - Japan's top mobile phone company - launched its 3rd generation cellular phone Monday. It allows users to surf the Internet about 40 times faster than previous models and see the person they are calling. But promised features, such as video clip transmission and music downloads, have been delayed until next year, so the company can fine tune its software.

With a price tag of about $800, wide use of the phone is not expected initially. But one man who bought the new phone Monday explains he bought the phone so he could see his grandchild's face while talking. He admits the price was high, but he forced himself to buy it.

For now, the service is limited to a 30 kilometer radius around central Tokyo, but will soon expand. NTT DoCoMo also hopes to launch its service in other countries, including the United States.