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Vodafone K.K. has fallen further behind its two rivals in the mobile phone market as it had a steep decrease in subscription growth in fiscal 2004, according to data released Thursday by the Telecommunications Carriers Association.

Vodafone posted a net subscription increase of 89,300 in the year that ended on March 31, down sharply from the previous year’s 1,039,100.

The decrease in subscription net growth — new subscriptions minus cancellations — is attributable to Vodafone’s delayed introduction of a third-generation mobile phone service that offers high-speed, large-volume data transmission.

In contrast, KDDI Corp.’s au service posted a net subscription increase of 2,583,600 in fiscal 2004.

NTT DoCoMo Inc. also fared well, with a net gain of 2,496,800 subscriptions.

Subscriptions to mobile phone services totaled 86,997,600 at the end of fiscal 2004, up 6.2 percent over the year earlier.

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