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Mobile Phone 3.5G battle lines are drawn August 23, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in Communications, IT, Japan, Mobile, technology.

KDDI, the carrier behind the Japanese #2 mobile phone network AU, has announced its 3.5G strategy.

It announced its upgrade to its existing CDMA2000 1x EV-DO Rev.0 infrastructure, services using the new infrastructure start in December 2006 in major metropolitan areas. The new system is called CDMA2000 1x EV-DO Rev.A. That’s a bit of a mouthful, and nil points for creativity or originality.

The highlights are:

a) An increase in speed, notably in uplink speed. Downlink was already at a maximum of 2.4Mbps, and that is improved to 3.1Mbps, but the real story is that the uplink goes from 144k to 1.8Mbps.

b) QoS technology has been built in, allowing a superior service for quality critical applications. KDDI will be implementing a VoIP videophone service using this QoS functionality. It will no doubt have other uses, potential uses that spring to mind are differentiating their media content services such as VoD and music streaming services from non-affiliated services offering the same. This does potentially raise some network neutrality issues, but that whole debate seems rather subdued here in Japan anyway.

c) BCMCS, a multicast system (requires compatible handsets) which will allow more efficient distribution of mass distribution content over IP. This could also be a big deal for content distribution over mobile IP.
NTT DoCoMo has already announced its plans for HSDPA on its FOMA W-CDMA network which kicks in this autumn, for which it promotes a 3.6Mbps downlink speed (uplink is a paltry 384kbps)

Personally, I think KDDI’s strategy of increasing uplink makes a huge amount of sense. Mobile phones as ubiquitously portable devices to enable mobile blogging (mobile photo blogging, with integrated megapixel cameras of course), video blogging (the cameras do a decent enough job of pretending it is a videocamera), even using the phone to record podcasts….. All of these functionalities will be greatly enhanced by the leap in speed.

As far as the technological battle goes, chalk one up for KDDI.



1. Gen Kanai - August 29, 2006

Question for you: what service/phone do you choose if you need to be able to be reached overseas? Let’s say one travels for work to the EU and US regularly. I know that within Japan, AU is tops, but outside of Japan…?

2. fukumimi - September 13, 2006

I personally have a UK (T-Mobile) phone that I use when I am in Europe. (I spend most of my time in the UK when I travel to that part of the world)

Apart from that, I just roam on my NTT DoCoMo account as I’m not much of a phone person.

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