NTT DoCoMo has used yesterday’s announcement that it has secured so-called ‘platinum band’ 700MHz spectrum from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) to announce a major programme to ‘expand and improve’ its Xi-branded Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. Japan’s leading mobile operator by subscribers and clear segment leader in the 4G market with more than three million users, expects to begin offering LTE in the 700MHz band by January 2015, at which date a larger number of its customers will have migrated to 4G. Like its rivals, DoCoMo is worried that ever-increasing consumer demand for data-hungry services is driving a need to dramatically expand capacity on its networks. The cellco was reportedly so concerned about data consumption rates from applications on Android-based devices – reportedly used by six out of ten Japanese smartphone users – that it contacted Google to suggest the firm altered its settings to reduce the amount of data the platform uses. The request was rumoured to be linked to problems that resulted in a short network outage in January this year.
As reported by CommsUpdate yesterday, NTT DoCoMo, KDDI (au) and eMobile have all been granted so-called ‘platinum band’ 700MHz spectrum by the MIC. The firms will utilise the new spectrum to improve their LTE 4G wireless services, although the new frequencies will not be utilised until the start of 2015 at the earliest. Japan’s fourth mobile operator, Softbank, was recently granted access to 900MHz platinum band spectrum, which it too is expected to use for LTE-based services.