Japanese telecoms giant NTT DOCOMO has announced plans to set up two new business units – the Innovation Management Department and the 5G Laboratory – from 1 October 2014, to strengthen its innovation, research and development (R&D) in next generation mobile technologies. According to Telecom Lead, the new units are expected to provide a hothouse environment to drive DOCOMO’s R&D activities, and to help with the international standardisation of 5G. Both units fall under the control of the Japanese carrier’s R&D Innovation Division, and the announcement comes at a time when DOCOMO has already upped its FY2014/15 CAPEX forecast for 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) to JPY465 billion (USD4.2 billion), up from 4G investment spend of JPY387.8 billion in FY2013/14.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, DOCOMO reported a 3.4% decrease in operating revenues for the three months ended 30 June 2014 (Q1 FY2014/15), to JPY1.075 trillion, down from JPY1.114 trillion reported at end-June 2013. In operational terms, the carrier reported a total of 63.566 million subscribers at the same date, up 3.2% from 61.623 million at 30 June 2013. Further, the company reported that subscribers to its 3G services, marketed under the ‘FOMA’ brand, decreased by 16.7% y-o-y to 39.523 million users, while subscribers to its 4G LTE service, marketed under the brand name ‘Xi’, increased by nearly ten million to 24.043 million, compared to the 14.198 million reported twelve months previously. The company had 66,300 LTE base stations in operation by end-June 2014, and it is well on its way to meet its target of 95,300 LTE-enabled base transceiver stations (BTS) in service by the end of its current fiscal year.