Feeds

Japan gets unlocked phones and 42Mbps HSPA

DoCoMo hopes advanced network keeps customers loyal

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

NTT DoCoMo of Japan, renowned for its tight control of its handset experience, is taking a major step towards open access, and promises to offer all its phones unlocked. From next April, the operator will allow customers to switch handsets and take their devices to other carriers, by inserting a new SIM card, and will include SIM unlock software on all its phones.

This shows the unlocked model, which has made limited progress in many countries because of the lure of subsidies, starting to spread. In some markets, customers are getting restive about the restrictions of carrier contracts and lock-ins, while in others open access is being mandated for some operators, as with Verizon's LTE network in the US.

DoCoMo hopes its advanced network, and early plans to introduce LTE, will keep customers loyal. However, it is under rising competitive pressure, and this week its smallest but most aggressive rival, eMobile, 'soft launched' Japan's fastest network. Using Ericsson kit, the fourth cellco made its new HSPA+ (high speed packet access) services available to select users, promising theoretical download speeds of 42Mbps. This iteration of HSPA+ has only been adopted by a few carriers so far, notably Australia's Telstra.

The full commercial launch of eMobile's data-driven network, in metropolitan areas such as Tokyo, Tokai and Osaka, will take place by year end.

According to Wireless Intelligence, the small player has 2.5 million subscribers - just 2.3 per cent market share - but enjoyed a high year-on-year growth rate of 52.5 per cent to mid-2010. It originally relied on an MVNO model but started rolling out its HSPA network, offering flat rate data services, in 2007. It upgraded to 21Mbps last summer using equipment from Huawei and promises LTE by 2012.

Copyright © 2010, Wireless Watch

Wireless Watch is published by Rethink Research, a London-based IT publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter delivers in-depth analysis and market research of mobile and wireless for business. Subscription details are here.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.