Vodafone K.K. saw a net decrease of 3,100 subscriptions in July, becoming the first among the three major mobile phone carriers to report a net decline in subscriptions, according to data released Friday by an industry association.

The decline reflects Vodafone’s inability to produce popular products in the saturated mobile phone market, since J-Phone Co., the predecessor of Vodafone, marketed popular mobile phones equipped with cameras in 2000.

The sluggish client growth for Vodafone also indicates the company lagged behind its rivals in the development of third-generation mobile phone services, which allow users to transmit data at a high speed.

According to the Telecommunications Carriers Association, NTT DoCoMo Inc. saw a net increase of 225,700 subscriptions, or new subscriptions minus cancellations, in July, while KDDI Corp.’s au service reported a net increase of 219,700.

NTT DoCoMo saw a net increase of 688,500 subscriptions for its FOMA third-generation mobile phone services, after it introduced fixed charges for data transmission services in June.

Total subscriptions to NTT DoCoMo’s FOMA services came to 5.3 million, surpassing 5.0 million for the first time.

Total subscriptions to mobile phone services in Japan came to 83.2 million at the end of July, up 0.5 percent over a month earlier, the association said.

Meanwhile, the number of subscriptions to personal handy-phone system services fell 1.1 percent from the previous month to 4.97 million, falling below 5.00 million for the first time since January 1997.

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