This is new: it looks like American phone networks are ahead of those in Japan. The largest carrier in Japan, NTT DoCoMo, is launching their 4G LTE network on Christmas Eve, and will add voice support to their coverage by April of 2011.
LTE with NTT DoCoMo will launch with data-only coverage in major cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and others. Their 4G coverage will begin as data-only, as they will only offer 4G wireless broadband cards in the beginning. Their 4G service will grow to include voice by April, also coinciding with the launch of multiple 4G smartphones.
NTT DoCoMo reports that their maximum download speeds will reach 75Mbps, and upload speeds of around 37.5Mbps. Initial tests report that real-world speeds will be about half of their maximums. The carrier also expects their LTE network to reach speeds of around 300Mbps. With these exponential increases in speed on the horizon, we have to wonder: what about new battery technology? Maybe just a solar panel, or even a kinetic system like there is on watches?
The LTE network will be called "Xi," which is pronounced "crossy". It comes in two tiered data packages. The first is more expensive, but is a pay-as-you-go service offering 3GB for about $30, or 5GB for about $99. Does that sound like a weird price progression to anyone else? The on-contract option offers 3GB/mo for $12.50 and 5GB/mo for $80. There is also a promotional rate of $60/mo for unlimited data.
source: NTT DoCoMo via Electronista