Wireless Broadband Planning KK, the mobile WiMAX venture led by a consortium including KDDI Corp, is close to selecting an equipment supplier for its USD1.3 billion network rollout in Japan. The companies currently leading the pack are believed to be Fujitsu and Samsung Corp, reports Unstrung. KDDI is expecting to announce the winning suppliers by March.
KDDI’s WiMAX joint venture, whose other investors are Intel Capital, East Japan Railway Company, Kyocera Corp, Daiwa Securities Group and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, was awarded a national WiMAX licence in the 2.5GHz band at the end of 2007 via beauty contest. The venture has committed to spending JPY145 billion (USD1.3 billion) over the next seven years. Wireless Broadband Planning plans to install 19,000 mobile WiMAX base stations across the country by March 2013, covering 90% of the population; it hopes to win 5.6 million WiMAX customers by March 2014. Trials are due to start in February 2009, with commercial services planned for the summer of 2009, costing JPY5,000 per month for unlimited data, mainly accessed via PC or laptop data cards. The other licence winner was personal handyphone system (PHS) operator Willcom, which plans to invest USD1.7 billion over six years on a next generation PHS network at 2.5GHz.