Wednesday, August 23, 2006

NTT DoCoMo Launches HSDPA on August 31

NTT DoCoMo will launch a High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) service on August 31 and start selling Japan's first HSDPA-compatible handset, the 3G FOMA N902iX HIGH-SPEED.

In FOMA HIGH-SPEED areas, the N902iX is capable of packet downlinks of up to 3.6Mbps, approximately 10 times faster than current FOMA handsets.

Starting August 31, all of central Tokyo will be included in these HIGH-SPEED areas, and all major Japanese cities will be covered by the end of October. DoCoMo also plans to broaden the areas to cover 70% of the national population by the end of March 2007 and 90% by the end of March 2008. Outside these areas, both uplink and downlink speeds can still reach as high as 384Kbps.

The handset will be compatible with DoCoMo's new Music Channel service, also starting from August 31. Users will be able to automatically download music programs of about up to one hour during the late-night hours for listening later.

The handset also supports the "Chaku-Uta Full" service, which enables the downloading of complete music tracks for normal playback or to create clips for ringtones.

No special contract or service charge for HSDPA will be required, and charges for FOMA packet communications will remain unchanged. FOMA discount packet services, such as the pake-hodai (packet flat-rate) service, will also be applicable to HSDPA.

HSDPA technology was standardized by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project and offers a theoretical maximum downlink speed up to 14Mbps.