DoCoMo Takes LTE to 250 Mbit/s

NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) has taken 4G mobile broadband standard Long-Term Evolution (LTE) out of the lab and hit 250 Mbit/s on the downlink, and said it will detail the full trial results at next week's CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas. (See DoCoMo Hits 250-Mbit/s LTE and DoCoMo Tests 'Super 3G'.)

DoCoMo has been testing LTE, which it calls Super 3G, since February in a field trial using a real wireless environment outside its research and development labs in Yokosuka, Japan.

The current field test involves four multiple input multiple output (MIMO) antennas and operates in 20 MHz of bandwidth. The speed recorded on the downlink was 250 Mbit/s.

DoCoMo has been the biggest supporter of LTE and has set the most aggressive timelines for commercial deployment, which is planned for 2010. Although DoCoMo may now share this LTE advocate position with Verizon Wireless since it has exploded onto the LTE scene, along with Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), T-Mobile International AG , and China Mobile Communications Corp. (See Verizon Goes LTE, Verizon, Vodafone Head for LTE, Vodafone Plans LTE Powwow, China Mobile Joins LTE Threesome, T-Mobile Demos LTE, and DT's 4G Folly.)

DoCoMo says it is now testing the connection handover from one base station to another, as well as the performance of applications in indoor and outdoor environments.

The operator did not reveal which vendors supplied the equipment for this field test. But DoCoMo has been working with Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY), NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701), and Panasonic Mobile Communications Co. Ltd. to develop base stations and handsets. The operator says it began taking proposals from suppliers for LTE test equipment back in July 2006. (See NTT Tests Fujitsu's LTE, NEC Joins DoCoMo LTE Trial, DoCoMo Adds NEC for LTE, and AlcaLu, NEC Team for 4G.)

Recently, though, DoCoMo has made some vendor choices for its Super 3G network. The operator selected Panasonic Mobile and Nokia Networks , which are collaborating on LTE product development for DoCoMo. The operator also selected Ericsson to supply LTE equipment. (See DoCoMo Does LTE With NSN and DoCoMo Picks Ericsson LTE.)

By 2009, DoCoMo expects to have completed the technology development for products that will be used in the commercial launch in 2010.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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