Japan's top cellphone operator NTT DoCoMo is to invest 37 billion yen (343 million dollars) in the two years to March 2006 to help manufacturers develop software for third-generation (3G) handsets.
The investment, which follows its spending of 42 billion yen in the two years to next March for handset development, comes as the number of subscribers to DoCoMo's 3G 'FOMA' phones surpassed 1.7 million last week.
The 3G cell phones can handle quick transmission of large amounts of data, enabling video conferences.
"Advanced handset capabilities are crucial to further enhancing the value of these services to the user," DoCoMo said in a statement. "By investing in development, DoCoMo aims to motivate manufacturers to produce increasingly innovative handsets."
The investment will be spread among six firms: Fujitsu Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Motorola Japan Ltd., NEC Corp., Panasonic Mobile Communications Co. Ltd. and Sharp Corp., it said.
The cellphone operator said it would share ownership rights with the handset makers of any new technologies.
It said it hoped to accelerate the development of software applications running on Linux and Symbian operating systems as well as boost data transmission speeds.
News source: Yahoo! News