Japan's NTT DoCoMo has started receiving commercially-ready LTE base stations from Fujitsu, putting it on track for its December launch.
NTT DoCoMo selected Fujitsu as one of its suppliers of LTE base stations and handsets back in October 2006. Rival Japanese vendor NEC will also shortly start shipping LTE base stations and handsets to DoCoMo.
In order to facilitate a smooth transition between the current 3G FOMA service and LTE, Fujitsu said its LTE base stations (base unit and amplifier) incorporate an antenna unit that is compatible with both LTE and W-CDMA/HSPA.
In similar vein, for the past three months, DoCoMo has been deploying W-CDMA base stations equipped with Remote Radio Equipment (RRE) units so that they can support both W-CDMA and LTE services.
DoCoMo said the RRE-equipped base stations will account for about half of its initial LTE base stations by launch time.
It plans to start service in high data usage areas in December.
The deployment is a part of DoCoMo's initial plan to layer a 2GHz LTE network over its existing 3G network, starting in high-data usage areas.
From 2012, the carrier will use spectrum at 1.5GHz – 15MHz of which it was awarded in June last year – also for LTE.
DoCoMo is rushing to meet its consumers’ high-bandwidth needs with LTE, since it has chosen not to upgrade from HSPA to HSPA+.