Monday, November 8, 2010

DOCOMO's LTE Launch Set for Dec 24 -- $60/Month Initial Rate

NTT DOCOMO will launch its "Xi" (read "Crossy") LTE service on December 24, 2010. Xi promises a top theoretical downlink speed of 75 Mbps from some buildings in the network's footprint, maximum downlinks of 37.5 Mbps elsewhere with 12.5 Mbps uplink rates. This is approximately ten times faster than DOCOMO's 3G service.

Xi service initially will be available in the Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka areas, with other major cities and regions to be added thereafter. This initial rollout involves approximately 1,000 base stations, of which 800 LTE base stations are in Tokyo and 100 each in Nagoya and Osaka.

DOCOMO initially will sell a USB LTE device from LG Electronics for providing connectivity to mobile computers. Voice calls using Xi are expected sometime within the fiscal year starting in April 2011, when DOCOMO will begin launching LTE-compatible mobile phones.

At launch, two data-only billing plans will be offered: "Xi Data Plan Ninen" and "Xi Data Plan." Xi Data Plan Ninen, which will require a two-year contract, will cost between 1,000 and 6,510 yen (including tax) for up to 5 gigabytes (GB) of data per month. Over 5 GB, 2,625 yen (including tax) will be charged for each 2 GB (details about both plans are attached).

As a special introductory offer, the maximum monthly charge for unlimited data using Xi Data Plan Ninen will be 4,935 yen (US$60) through April 2012.

The company charges 5,985 yen for unlimited 3G use.

Billing plans for Xi voice services will be announced later.

The LTE-related CAPEX spending for FY 2010 was approximate 35 billion yen (approx. US$431 million) and this spending is expected to reach 100 billion yen ($1.2 billion) and 170 billion yen ($2 billion) in FY 2012.

As for the Xi brand, the "X" denotes both "connection" and "infinite possibility," and the "i" both "individual user" and "innovation." The logo, which resembles the infinity symbol, aligns the letters in a single stream to embody the bonds that organically link people, goods and information, and lead to new innovation.

  • In June 2010, NTT DOCOMO began testing its LTE network in the Tokyo area, prior to the full-scale launch of extra-high-speed LTE commercial service in December.
    DOCOMO said it expects to confirm 5 MHz-bandwidth throughput for 37.5 Mbps downlinks and 12.5 Mbps uplinks, and later 10 MHz-bandwidth throughput for maximum 75 Mbps downlinks and 25 Mbps uplinks in selected test areas.

    The 2 GHz network system comprises dual W-CDMA/LTE base stations, LTE core network equipment and LTE-enabled mobile devices. For efficiency, DOCOMO has been installing LTE base-station components on existing W-CDMA 3G base stations.
    Base stations in DOCOMO's existing W-CDMA network that already are equipped with dual W-CDMA/LTE remote radio equipment1 can be easily upgraded for LTE service with the addition of an LTE BDE (base station digital equipment).

    The LTE devices to be used in the pre-launch operation are equipped for theoretical speeds of 100 Mbps downlinks and 50 Mbps uplinks. Compatibility with W-CDMA will enable seamless handover as the devices move between LTE and W-CDMA service areas in the network.
    The devices also are compatible with the GSM protocol, which will enable them to be used on LTE/GSM networks in overseas markets.

  • In March 2010, Fujitsu began shipping LTE mobile base station systems to NTT DOCOMO, which plans to launch LTE services in December 2010.

    Fujitsu was selected by NTT DOCOMO in October 2006 as a vendor to develop and manufacture the company's LTE wireless mobile base stations. Since then, the two companies have been jointly developing and evaluating the systems.
    Fujitsu said LTE, also called Super 3G, should reach transmission rates of up to 150 Mbps downstream and 50 Mbps upstream, in addition to featuring low latency.
    The new LTE base stations incorporate numerous advanced Fujitsu technologies, such as highly efficient amplifier technology, to make them lightweight, energy-efficient, and high-performance.