NTT Docomo said Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology is a central part of Docomo's plans to grow ARPU and profits in Japan, a market that is saturated and characterized by intense price cutting. As such, it is aiming to be one of the first operators to deploy the all-IP mobile technology.
The Japanese giant wants to differentiate itself with LTE through video. Docomo President Ryuji Yamada said he wants the company to be known as "Douga no Docomo," which translates into "Movie Docomo."
Docomo recently introduced a service called BeeTV, which offers custom-made videos for mobile phones. The operator said some 400,000 paying customers signed up in less than two months.
"Those figures would be inconceivable in the normal broadcast market," Yamada said. In addition to video content, which other operators like Verizon Wireless see as a killer application for LTE, Docomo hopes its plan around video will spur its subscribers to sign up for unlimited mobile data packages.
Docomo hopes that, in addition to paying for content, movies will prompt customers to sign up for unlimited data packages, which it can deliver economically via LTE.
Despite finding itself stranded with an incompatible 3G standard because it wanted to be first out the door with W-CDMA nearly 10 years ago, NTT Docomo is aiming to once again become the world's first to launch LTE, even if the majority of operators opt to wait for LTE.
Yamada, however, says things are different today. For one, the bulk of the LTE standard was completed in December. Yamada said he is confident early LTE implementations will be compatible. Verizon Wireless is moving just as aggressively.
"We went first and when we looked behind us there was nobody there," Yamada said of its 3G deployment to the Financial Times. This time "we don't want to go first, we want to go in the leading group."
- check out the Financial Times
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