The Communications Ministry has decided to grant licenses for next-generation wireless broadband service to Willcom Inc. and a group led by KDDI Corp. according to the Nikkei. The ministry’s decision is based on an examination of about 120 criteria, including business plans and technologies. KDDI had started development of WiMax technology ahead of others in 2003, and Willcom has a track record for bringing PHS (personal handyphone system), a technology created in Japan, to China.
Next-generation wireless service, which starts in 2009, will allow users to enjoy high-speed Internet connections of 20 megabits per second or faster from their personal computers or other devices even while moving outdoors at 100kph. The ministry has indicated that it will allocate frequencies on the 2.5GHz band, and four groups have been vying for the two licenses it has to give.
KDDI plans to launch next-generation wireless broadband service in the summer of 2009 using the WiMax standard through a joint venture with such firms as Intel Corp. of the U.S. This group, which also includes Kyocera, is expected to spend 144 billion yen through fiscal 2013 on building a network and for other expenses.
Willcom also plans to begin providing service in 2009, with 200 billion yen earmarked for investment through fiscal 2015. It aims to use next-generation PHS technology that is significantly faster then existing PHS service, and it will try to get its technology adopted overseas.
The ministry will make its recommendations on Friday to a panel charged with selecting the two groups that are to receive the licenses. The panel is expected to make a decision based on the recommendations the same day.