Japan gets unlocked phones and 42Mbps HSPA

DoCoMo hopes advanced network keeps customers loyal


NTT DoCoMo of Japan, renowned for its tight control of its handset experience, is taking a major step towards open access, and promises to offer all its phones unlocked. From next April, the operator will allow customers to switch handsets and take their devices to other carriers, by inserting a new SIM card, and will include SIM unlock software on all its phones.

This shows the unlocked model, which has made limited progress in many countries because of the lure of subsidies, starting to spread. In some markets, customers are getting restive about the restrictions of carrier contracts and lock-ins, while in others open access is being mandated for some operators, as with Verizon's LTE network in the US.

DoCoMo hopes its advanced network, and early plans to introduce LTE, will keep customers loyal. However, it is under rising competitive pressure, and this week its smallest but most aggressive rival, eMobile, 'soft launched' Japan's fastest network. Using Ericsson kit, the fourth cellco made its new HSPA+ (high speed packet access) services available to select users, promising theoretical download speeds of 42Mbps. This iteration of HSPA+ has only been adopted by a few carriers so far, notably Australia's Telstra.

The full commercial launch of eMobile's data-driven network, in metropolitan areas such as Tokyo, Tokai and Osaka, will take place by year end.

According to Wireless Intelligence, the small player has 2.5 million subscribers - just 2.3 per cent market share - but enjoyed a high year-on-year growth rate of 52.5 per cent to mid-2010. It originally relied on an MVNO model but started rolling out its HSPA network, offering flat rate data services, in 2007. It upgraded to 21Mbps last summer using equipment from Huawei and promises LTE by 2012.

Copyright © 2010, Wireless Watch

Wireless Watch is published by Rethink Research, a London-based IT publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter delivers in-depth analysis and market research of mobile and wireless for business. Subscription details are here.

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021