The Japanese government has begun accepting applications for licences to use wireless spectrum in the 2.5GHz band for next-generation high speed data communications services. Competition for the new licences is expected to be heated amongst cellcos Willcom, NTT DoCoMo, KDDI (au) and Softbank Mobile. Up to two firms will be granted licences by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry. The closing date for applications is 15 October, with winners to be decided by the end of the year. NTT DoCoMo has teamed up with broadband ISP Acca Networks to launch next-generation PHS services, and has also invited Tokyo Broadcasting System, Mitsui & Co. and East Japan Railway Co. to join the venture. KDDI is expected to team up with top shareholder Kyocera Corp, while Softbank Mobile aims to obtain a licence by allying with the country’s newest cellco eMobile. Willcom has already expressed its intention to bid for a licence without partnering any other firms.