updated 12:50 pm EDT, Wed March 26, 2008
250Mbps cellular broadband
Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has managed downlink speeds of up to 250Mbps in field testing of LTE (Long Term Evolution), a company announcement claims. LTE, often dubbed 4G broadband, is expected to eventually replace the current worldwide 3G standards, HSDPA and HSUPA. LTE should allow individual cellphone users to reach download speeds of up to 20Mbps; this at least two and a half times faster than the fastest 3 and 3.5G deployments, still used in a minority of public networks. Most 3G connections are over five times slower.
DoCoMo, which already operates Japan's national FOMA 3G network, is labeling its first LTE technology as "Super 3G," or 3.9G. Maximum downlink speeds in that phase are expected to hit 300Mbps; the company intends to transition people into a an even better 4G network however, with unspecified performance improvements. Super 3G will become available in 2009 at the earliest, followed by full 4G in 2010 or 2011.