Wireline trio set to play in 3G arena

10 Mar 2004

Three Japanese ADSL providers – NTT Communications, Softbank and Eaccess – are preparing to launch 3G wireless services using a new platform known as time division duplex (TDD). The new format, which allows maximum data transmission speed of 14Mbps, uses IP for communications between base stations, allowing the companies to make use of their existing networks. The Japanese Telecommunications Ministry is reported to be considering allocating the frequencies needed to rollout services, raising the possibility of the three launching commercial offerings within two to three years. The companies are all expected to focus on offering mobile handsets that will be used exclusively for data communications rather than voice. The news has been met with a lukewarm reception from the likes of existing cellco Vodafone KK, which has called for restrictions on the newcomers so as to protect against excessive price competion, which it argues could curb technological innovation.