updated 01:55 pm EST, Mon December 27, 2010
NTT DoCoMo launches Japan's first LTE network
Japanese wireless provider NTT DoCoMo has now launched its LTE service at home. Announced over a year ago, it went online December 24, and is the country's first 4G network. Called Xi, it will initially cover Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, with plans to expand to 70 percent of the country's population by March of 2015.
Xi users who venture outside the LTE service area automatically transfer over to DoCoMo's FOMA 3G network. Only data service for computer users will be offered at first, as 4G handsets are due to arrive in March 2012. The outdoor download speeds are as fast as 37.5Mbps, while uploads get up to 12.5Mbps. In indoor areas with the service, including the Tokyo International Airport, users get as fast as 75Mbps when downloading, or nearly 10 times faster than DoCoMo's modern HSPA-based 3G service.
DoCoMo will invest more than $400 million by March 2011 and will include nearly 1,000 base stations that cover about seven percent of the country's population.