NTT DoCoMo today announced it was developing three prototype high speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) handsets in partnership with Fujitsu, Motorola and NEC, as part of plans to launch 3.5G services sometime between July and September this year. The new terminals will be demonstrated at the 3GSM World Congress 2006 in Barcelona. HSDPA offers a theoretical maximum downlink speed of about 14Mbps, although current prototypes are capable of 3.6Mbps – ten times faster than DoCoMo’s 3G FOMA handsets.
In a separate development, DoCoMo says it plans to shut down its Personal Handyphone System (PHS) mobile phone service at the end of 2007. The cellco has not confirmed the actual date of the shutdown, but will do so after monitoring PHS usage trends of existing customers. In the meantime the operator says it will continue to remind PHS users of the imminent closure and encourage them to migrate to an alternative service, such as FOMA.