DOCOMO serves up LTE-A fry-day: 225Mbps starter leaves room for 300Mbps dessert

25 Mar 2015

Japan’s market-leading mobile operator NTT DOCOMO is on schedule to launch its commercial LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) mobile broadband network with a 225Mbps maximum data transmission speed on its target date this Friday (27 March 2015) under the ‘Premium 4G’ banner. The cellco has used carrier aggregation technology to achieve the new downlink speed, the fastest in Japan to date, which it plans to further accelerate to a maximum 300Mbps towards the end of the next fiscal year ending in March 2016. The maximum uplink on the LTE-A network will be 50Mbps. On Friday the DOCOMO LTE-A network is scheduled to launch initially in 22 prefectures, including Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, while nationwide LTE-A availability is expected by March 2016. Two DOCOMO mobile Wi-Fi routers will be available for the service – the previously available Wi-Fi STATION HW-02G and the newly launched L-01G model – while DOCOMO is also expanding its line-up of compatible smartphones for LTE-A network users.

In a quirky promotional campaign, NTT DOCOMO is advertising the latest upgrade in commercial 4G speed by visualising the concept of multi-band LTE-A technology as a cooking demonstration involving Japanese dumplings being made at high speed via ingredients shot through the air from cannons (see link). Cautionary note: the cellco’s online video channel includes the warning ‘Since this recipe is dangerous, please do not imitate’.

As shown on DOCOMO’s website, its 225Mbps (theoretical) downlink speeds have been achieved by aggregating the following carrier bandwidths: 800MHz (75Mbps) + 1700MHz (150Mbps) / 1500MHz (112.5Mbps) + 2000MHz (112.5Mbps). The LTE-A service is also supported by Advanced C-RAN network architecture that increases radio capacity and maximum transmission speed simultaneously and efficiently, especially in high-traffic areas, the operator says.