Japanese telecoms group eAccess, which offers cellular services via its eMobile brand, has launched a trial of fourth-generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) services using the 1.75GHz band ahead of a commercial launch in March 2012, Telecompaper reports. At that date the cellco intends to offer full-blown services in the Kanto area, before rolling out the 4G service countrywide on a sequential basis. The operator will use the pilot trial to evaluate readiness of the LTE network ahead of the service launch, including service quality and the network’s maximum connection capability – thought to be 75Mbps/25Mbps (down/uplink). It is understood the rollout of LTE is already underway at eMobile’s HSPA+ base stations, as part of a plan to upgrade them to be LTE compatible.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that rival mobile operator NTT DoCoMo is currently the only player offering LTE in the country, having launched its ‘Xi’ branded network in December last year. Earlier this month DoCoMo launched its first handsets to use its 4G network, which is capable of offering mobile data communication at up to 75Mbps; LTE applications remain data-only, with no voice traffic carried over the 4G network as yet., although the operator has revealed plans to introduce voice-over-LTE services at the latest by March 2012. According to GlobalComms DoCoMo reported 388,600 Xi subscribers as at 30 September 2011, up from 296,200 a month earlier.