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Japanese telco to splurge £2bn a year on LTE

NTT Docomo to roll out network and mobiles by 2015

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Japan's largest mobile phone operator plans to spend a total of 880bn yen (£7.26bn) to rollout its LTE network and launch LTE-enabled phones.

The sum will be spent up to fiscal 2015, NTT Docomo chief exec and president Ryuji Yamada said at a mobile conference in Hong Kong, Reuters reported.

The carrier, already the biggest measured by number of subscribers, has previously said that it plans to have 30 million LTE subscriptions by fiscal 2015, along with 40 million smartphone subscriptions, which is how it's planning to make its money back.

"As a result of such growth, Docomo seeks growth in packet revenue of 1.5 times between fiscal 2011 and 2015," the company said in a canned statement earlier this month.

NTT Docomo is facing increasing competition with its rivals, particularly Softbank and number two carrier KDDI, which both carry the iPhone.

Yamada told the Dow Jones newswire on Tuesday that the company "hadn't given up hope" of bringing the iPhone to its customers, but there were still obstacles, such as the fruity firm's insistence that operators commit to a large volume.

"If the introduction of the iPhone results in the mass majority of our products occupied by the iPhone, then that's a scenario that's difficult to us to swallow," he said.

Docomo also has its own apps that it offers to customers, such as its e-wallet and its i-mode email service, which it can't install on the iPhone because of its closed OS. ®

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