Anticipating that third-generation services will dominate the mobile phone market within a few years, NTT DoCoMo Inc., KDDI Corp., and Vodafone K.K. are rolling out new handsets with a range of advanced 3G functions.

With the new mobile phones allowing users to experience multimedia functions that only 3G technology can provide, such as a videophone function and video-clip downloads, the battle for a share of the 3G market is intensifying, according to Nahoko Mitsuyama, an industrial analyst at Gartner Japan Ltd.

Gartner Japan predicts 3G subscribers will outnumber 2G subscribers by the end of 2006.