DoCoMo Launches LTE Services
DoCoMo, Japan’s pioneer of the mobile Internet and world 1st provider of 3G, launched Japan’s first LTE mobile service today – http://bit.ly/grhaaI
Back in 2004, DOCOMO proposed the “Super 3G” concept to the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the cross-industry group handling 3G standardization. The concept subsequently became known as LTE. In the years that followed, DOCOMO actively contributed to the realization of LTE specifications, which were finalized in 2008.
DOCOMO began developing its own experimental LTE system in 2007. System testing started in July 2007 and downlink rates of 250 Mbps were confirmed outdoors by March the following year.
To ensure a fast, smooth introduction of commercial LTE services, DOCOMO also developed equipment to migrate existing network infrastructure. In late 2009, the company revealed new remote radio equipment (RRE), which allowed LTE base stations to be installed in existing W-CDMA base stations.
Final verification of DOCOMO’s LTE network commenced in the Tokyo area in June 2010.
At launch, the service covers the major urban centers of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, with plans to reach 70 percent of the Japanese population by March 2015. Users leaving the LTE service area are seamlessly handed over to DOCOMO’s 3G network, which serves all communities nationwide.
Starting with an LTE data service for PC users, DOCOMO plans to introduce LTE-compatible handsets, including voice service over the FOMA network, by March 2012.
In most outdoor areas, transmission speeds are up to 37.5 Mbps for the downlink and 12.5 Mbps for the uplink, but in heavily used indoor areas, such as the terminals at Tokyo International Airport, customers can enjoy up to 75 Mbps for the downlink, approximately 10 times faster than DOCOMO’s current 3G service with HSPA.
Over the next few years, DOCOMO will implement an aggressive plan to expand its LTE service. As of the end of March 2011, more than USD400 million will have been invested on a network covering about 1,000 base stations and serving about seven percent of the population.
By March 2013, however, DOCOMO plans to have spent in excess of USD3.6 billion on a network encompassing some 15,000 base stations and serving 40 percent of the population. It is expected that a quarter of the company’s subscribers, or 15 million people, will have migrated to LTE by March 2015.