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October 08, 2007

NTT docomo's Super 3G and 4G plans

IEEE spectrum reports on a live NTT test of Super 3G.

DoCoMo has taken on something of a leading role in promoting Super 3G inside the 3G Partnership Project (3GPP) a consortium of wireless operators and vendors, including Vodafone, Lucent, Motorola, and Nokia, working to create global specifications for 3G technologies. Essentially, Super 3G is targeting a useable download transmission speed of around 100 Mbps, with an uplink speed of 50 Mbps, and reaching much higher peak speeds in both cases.

At CEATEC DoCoMo gave its first public demonstration of the technology that is still under development and which is not expected to be deployed until 2010.


Prior press releases in July, 2007 indicated the commercial rollout plans targeting 2010.

Super 3G represents a break with the current 3G infrastructure, so it will require a new round of heavy investment before it can be deployed. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the same infrastructure can be used for future 4G systems. As a DoCoMo staffer said, “We see Super 3G as being a bridge to 4G.” And one that Japanese users no doubt will be the first to step across.


Super 3G holds the promise of allowing download speeds as fast as 300Mbps and upload speeds of 80Mbps. It uses the same radio spectrum band as current 3G services. NTT DoCoMo plans to launch a network based on the technology by 2010.

The technology could be seen as a steppingstone between current 3G technologies like W-CDMA and 1xEV-DO and 4G technologies such as UMB and WiMAX.

NTT DoCoMo is even looking past Super 3G towards those 4G technologies. In fact, late last year the carrier was successful in getting about 5Gbps data speeds to a receiver moving at about 10 kilometers per hour (6 mph).


This [4G technology] is a technology that is probably not going to [be widely implemented] until 2013.”

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