High-speed internet access provider Softbank Corp has applied for a commercial 3G mobile licence in Japan. In June, Softbank was granted permission to operate an experimental 3G mobile phone base station in the 1.7GHz band using W-CDMA technology, after the government revealed plans to allow two new mobile operators into the market. The government said it would release a 1.7GHz frequency band, including a 15MHz bandwidth for nationwide mobile services, of which 5MHz will be allocated to each of two new market entrants; the remaining 5MHz will be distributed to mobile phone service providers in accordance with growth in their number of customers.
If successful in its quest for a commercial licence, Softbank said it hopes to launch 3G services by the end of 2007 and plans to invest less than JPY100 billion (USD916 million) into the rollout of the network, curbing spending by leasing base stations and other equipment. The country hopes the move will stir fiercer competition in the sector, which is currently dominated by NTT DoCoMo, KDDI’s au Corp and Vodafone KK.