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NTT DoCoMo Inc., the nation’s largest mobile-phone company, said Thursday it will sell the Xperia handset running Google Inc.’s Android operating system starting in April.

DoCoMo made the announcement in a statement without saying how much the Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB handset will cost.

The Tokyo-based carrier said in July that it aimed to capture half of the domestic market for smart phones — handsets that run computerlike applications — estimated to be between 1.5 million and 2 million units in the 12 months ending Dec. 31. DoCoMo also offers Research in Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry and mobile devices using Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Mobile software.

Softbank Corp., the third-largest domestic mobile phone carrier, said in November it will start selling an Android handset from spring to maintain its lead in user additions and to boost data-service sales. The phone will have a 3.7-inch organic light-emitting diode screen, Softbank Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son said at the time, without identifying the manufacturer.

DoCoMo will introduce a new payment plan for its smart phone service in April that includes unlimited data transmission for a fixed price, DoCoMo President Ryuji Yamada said at a briefing.

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