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LTE (4G) in Japan

Long-Term Evolution (LTE) or 4th Generation (4G), is a high-speed data technology for mobile devices that enables faster and more efficient downloads. This kind of technology was defined by a project in which participated over 60 operators, manufacturers and research institutes, called 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

LTE has been being implemented in several countries and areas around the world for some years now, although it isn’t as widespread as 3G yet. However, ever since LTE came into force, there have been three countries ahead of the race: the US, Korea and Japan. Together, these three countries amounted for 87% of global LTE connections by Q2 2012.

Verizon Wireless in the United States is the largest LTE operator in the world, covering over 75% of the population in the US. But Japan and Korean are not far behind. SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest telecom company, recently announced that it has reached the 10 million subscribers notch. But Japanese telecom company NTT Docomo already announced the same thing back in February, which makes it the second largest LTE operator int he world.

NTT Docomo said on February 18 that about one in six of its mobile subscribers are now subscribed to Xi (pronounced ‘crossy’), its 4G network. Launched in December 2010, Xi was one of the first commercial long-term evolution networks in the world, and its number of subscribers has escalated ever since, counting 1 million in December 2011, 5 million by August 2012 and, as we said, 10 million last February.

The Japanese operator is planning to continue on the top of this new technology rankings, and currently offers 45 LTE-compatible devices: 32 smartphones, six tablets, and seven LTE devices. 112.5Mb/s Xi downloads are also available in 22 Japanese cities, and it is planning to reach 50 by June, and to introduce a 150Mb/s download service by March 2014.

So as you see, 2013 promises to be the year of Long-Term Evolution communications. It was a hot topic at the Mobile World Congress, and it will continue to be so, so gear up and prepare for the next generation of mobile phones!

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