Japan opening up new spectrum for LTE by the end of this year, DoCoMo to start building network in 2010

1-26-09-lte-logoThe Japanese Communications Ministry, which is sort of, kind of, but not really like the FCC in America, will allocate new spectrum by the end of this year to be used for the deployment of LTE. It’s estimated that during the next 5 years, over $11 billion will be spent on deploying LTE. What’ weird about all of this is the frequencies that Japan will be using for LTE. While Europe and Asia have standardized on 2100 MHz for 3G, the LTE scene looks to be drastically different. Europeans haven’t decided whether to use 2.5 GHz, 2.6 GHz, or to make use of the old 900 MHz band and we all know America had that big 700 MHz auction.  Japan however is assigning the 1.5 GHz band to NTT DoCoMo and Softbank Mobile, KDDI will be using both the 1.5 GHz and 800 MHz bands and eMobile, a brand spanking new competitor, will get the 1.8 GHz band.

NTT DoCoMo will be the first operator to start rolling out an LTE network and they’ve decided to use standard LTE equipment, versus the Super3G system they’ve been playing with in the labs, after learning from the painful experience of rolling out their own 3G standard called FOMA. NTT DoCoMo did not get the 20 MHz chunk they wanted in the 1.5 GHz band, and instead received only 15 MHz, with 10 MHz chunks going to the other 3 players. They plan to spend $3.43 billion to get their network up and running in July 2010 and launch commercial services by the end of the year. Softbank Mobile isn’t breaking ground on their network until 2011 and they’ve budgeted $5.5 billion for their roll out. eMobile will start constructing their network in September 2010 and plan to spend $644 million. By 2014, the four operators expect that around 36 million people will be using LTE.

We’ll all be keeping an eye on Japan since they’re usually light years ahead of everyone else when it comes to mobile telecoms.

[Via: Rethink Wireless]

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