NTT DoCoMo launches commercial LTE network

29 Dec 2010

On 24 December 2010 Japanese cellco NTT DoCoMo launched commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G mobile broadband services under the ‘Xi’ banner, available initially in the major urban centres of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. DoCoMo’s 4G network subscribers are automatically handed over to its nationwide 3G network outside LTE coverage areas. At launch it is offering LTE data-only services for computer users, whilst it has revealed plans to introduce LTE-compatible handsets and voice-over-LTE services by late-2011 or at the latest March 2012. In most outdoor areas, transmission speeds are up to 37.5Mbps (downlink) and 12.5Mbps (uplink), but in heavily used indoor areas, such as the terminals at Tokyo International Airport, customers can enjoy up to 75Mbps (downlink). By March 2013, DoCoMo plans to have spent in excess of USD3.6 billion on the network, and expects that a quarter of its subscribers, or around 15 million people, will have migrated to LTE by March 2015, by which date it plans to have extended 4G coverage to 70% of the population. DoCoMo’s LTE network is based on 3GPP Release 8 standard and operates in the frequency division duplex (FDD) mode, using separate frequencies for downlink and uplink transmissions in the 2GHz band.