KDDI, Japan’s second largest full-service telco in terms of subscribers, has selected Swedish equipment vendor Ericsson to deploy its Long Term Evolution (LTE) system and Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network. According to a joint press release, Ericsson will provide a FDD LTE and EPC radio access network based on its RBS6000 base station solution, in addition to network rollout and systems integration services. Further, the agreement marks a milestone as it is the first time Ericsson and KDDI have collaborated to implement a radio access network.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, KDDI’s LTE-based services were first introduced in September 2012 to coincide with the launch of the new iPhone 5 handset. KDDI is using both the 800MHz and 2100MHz bands for its LTE networks. The firm has come in for criticism, however, after failing to live up to its initial promises for 4G coverage. Although advertising at the time of the LTE launch had forecast 96% population coverage for iPhone 5 users by end-March 2013, at that date it was found by Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency that coverage levels had reached just 14%. By October 2013, the network’s footprint for iPhone 5 users had been extended to 20%.