Softbank to hard-launch LTE in early 2012

Fiona Chau
16 Nov 2011
Japan’s Softbank said it will commercialize its 4G network as early as February, with plans to extend the network to cover over 92% of the country’s population by the end of 2012.
The 4G network, which operates on the 2.5GHz spectrum that Softbank acquired from Willcom in March 2010, can support downloads of up to 110 Mbps and uplink of up to 15Mbps.
Ted Matsumoto, chief strategist advisor to CEO, said Softbank has already soft-launched the network on November 1 in Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka, through its 4G venture, Wireless City Planning (WCP).
The network is initially available via portable modems and dongle, and Softbank will begin offering a range of new handsets and smartphones in early 2012. These handsets, supplied by vendors such as Sharp, Dell, Panasonic, and Huawei, will support TD-LTE/FDD/GSM/UMTS/CDMA technologies, Matsumoto said.
Matsumoto said WCP would deploy 12,000 base stations next year, extending the 4G network to cover over 92% of the nation’s population.
The network is based on Advanced eXtended Global Platform (AXGP), an advanced version of the Japanese PHS standard, and is highly compatible with TD-LTE, the China-backed 4G standard.
“We also do [LTE] FDD but TDD is more spectrum-efficient and better suited to handling mobile data traffic than FDD,” Matsumoto told a conference in Hong Kong.


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