You don't need to be a technology fiend to realise that 3G uptake in the UK has been more about marketing than any tangible benefit to the consumer. So it's particularly frustrating to see how Japan has taken to the mobile phone technology on a mass scale.

Since 1 October 2001 Japan's leading network, NTT DoCoMo Japan has pushed its 3G FOMA -branded service so successfully it has now passed 30 million customers.

The company puts this runaway success down to wider coverage and improvements in call quality. The impact of high-tech phones that include RFID-based electronic money, digital TV tuners and the imminent arrival of 3.6Mbit/s HSDPA (aka 3.5G) downloads also can't be overlooked.

Not content to rest on its laurels, DoCoMo claims it plans to increase the number of 3G base stations by 50 per cent before March 2007.