Japanese carrier to launch LTE mobile broadband in 2010

MACAU, CHINA – Japan’s largest mobile network operator plans to beef up its wireless data services by introducing LTE (Long Term Evolution) mobile broadband in 2010, becoming one of the first companies globally to offer the new technology.

NTT DoCoMo started testing LTE, which it calls Super 3G (third generation mobile telecommunications) and others call 3.9G, in July of 2006. The technology improves wireless download and access speeds over current EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) and HSPA (high-speed packet access) technologies.

The company will introduce LTE commercially in 2010, said NTT DoCoMo CEO Ryuji Yamada, in a speech at the GSMA Mobile Asia Congress in Macau, China. He said his company needs speedier broadband to keep up with the video services Japanese consumers demand.

Nortel and other manufacturers have been testing LTE gear for several months.

NTT DoCoMo plans to also review more carefully the handsets it offers to subscribers to ensure they meet needs. Touchscreens have become far more important, as has a good user interface such as on the iPhone, Yamada said.

The company also plans to throw more support to open software platforms by 2010, including Symbian and Linux, he said, due to the growing importance of software in handsets.

NTT DoCoMo has 53.9 million mobile subscribers, and 86.1 per cent of them use 3G, said Yamada. By March of next year, he expects 3G penetration at the company to reach 90 per cent.

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