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4G/3G/WiFi

Docomo Pours $426M in LTE Capex

NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) outlined its Long Term Evolution (LTE) rollout and capex plans Friday as it reported its fiscal third-quarter results and provided an update on smart phone and tablet sales.

The Japanese giant, which launched its LTE service in late December, expects to have 1,000 base stations operational by the close of its current financial year at the end of March -- 800 in Tokyo, and 100 each in Nagoya and Osaka. By that time it will have invested ¥35 billion (US$426 million) in its LTE network. (See NTT Docomo Launches LTE Service.)

In the financial year that ends March 2012, the operator, which has high hopes that LTE will be robust enough to support enterprise cloud services, expects to invest a further ¥100 billion ($1.22 billion) to take its total LTE base station number to 5,000, enough to cover 20 percent of Japan's 127 million population. (See Docomo Links LTE to the Cloud.)

In the following fiscal year it plans to invest another ¥170 billion ($2.07 billion) to take the LTE base station count to 15,000.

By March 2015, NTT Docomo expects to have rolled out 35,000 LTE base stations covering 70 percent of the Japanese population. By that time it's aiming to have 15 million LTE customers.

And then it just gets better for Docomo's LTE infrastructure suppliers. (See NEC Supplies More LTE to DoCoMo, Fujitsu Ships LTE RAN to DoCoMo, Stoke Lands LTE Gig at DoCoMo, NTT DoCoMo Picks AlcaLu and DoCoMo Backhauls With NEC.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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