NTT Docomo to start LTE services in Japan in December 2010

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Faster data access with virtually no latency: LTE (Long Term Evolution) mobile broadband networks are coming, at least in the world’s most advanced mobile market, the nation of Japan. The country’s biggest cell phone carrier, NTT Docomo, said yesterday at GSMA Mobile Asia Congress in Hong Kong it will go fourth generation as early as December 2010.

The company plans to invest a total of $3.4 billion in LTE-based services over the next years. Docomo customers will be able to get LTE data cards in December 2010, followed by LTE-powered handsets in 2011. Bigger cities in Japan will be served first, and Docomo aims at covering 50% of the Points of Presence with 20,000 base stations by 2014. The company plans to first use the 2GHz band before expanding to 1.5GHz.

At the same event, Docomo announced they will terminate all 2G services in March 2011, with CEO Ryuji Yamada saying by that time, most of their customers will be using just 3G anyway. The carrier currently has a total of 55 million mobile subscribers in Japan.

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