TOKYO (07/03/2000) - Japan's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications on Friday officially awarded licenses for next-generation cellular telephone services, clearing the way for the winners to begin building new networks.
As previously announced, the licenses were awarded to NTT DoCoMo Inc., J-Phone Group and the combined group of DDI Cellular and Nippon Ido Tsushin Inc., according to statements from the carriers. [See "Japan Confirms Three Applicants for 3G Cellular," June 14.]Of the three carriers, NTT DoCoMo has the most aggressive roll-out plan for the new technology. It expects to launch initial commercial service in the Tokyo area in May 2001 and extend this to Japan's second and third cities of Osaka and Nagoya by December 2001. The carrier has been a leading force behind the research and development of Wideband CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access).
The J-Phone Group, which is affiliated with Japan Telecom Co. Ltd., plans to launch a W-CDMA based service in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya in December 2001 while the DDI Group plans to launch a service based on the CDMA 2000 standard in September 2002. The much later start time is partly a result of the less advanced development of CDMA 2000 and partly a result of the carrier having launched a CDMA service just over a year ago. That network is more advanced than the systems in use by NTT DoCoMo and J-Phone and so the need to upgrade is not as pressing.
The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, in Tokyo, is online at http://www.mpt.go.jp/. NTT DoCoMo, in Tokyo, can be reached via the Web at http://www.nttdocomo.co.jp/. Japan Telecom, in Tokyo, is online at http://www.japan-telecom.co.jp/. DDI Corp., in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.ddi.co.jp/.