Japan's largest mobile phone carrier NTT DoCoMo Inc. said Friday it began testing a new cellular network nearly 100 times faster than its current system.
The company said in a press release it had started testing equipment it hopes will yield download speeds of up to 300 megabits per second. Current maximum down speeds are 3.6 megabits per second.
Super 3G features low-latency data transmission and improved spectrum efficiency. It is a highly advanced version of High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) and High-Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA), which have been evolved from
DoCoMo will begin with an indoor experiment to test transmission speed using one transmitting and one receiving antenna. The company will then expand the experiment to examine downlink transmission by employing up to four Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antennas for both the base station (transmission side) and mobile station (receiving side); the goal is to achieve a downlink transmission speed of 300Mbps. MIMO is an antenna technology for wireless communications in which different data streams are spatially multiplexed using multiple antennas for both transmission and reception on the same frequency. Also to be examined is the "handover function" — switching of the connection between two base stations.
Completion of the new network is scheduled by 2009.
Competition in Japan's saturated mobile communications market has been driving down margins for voice services, and DoCoMo and its rival carriers are trying to capture more business by turning to date-based services, which require more bandwidth.