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NTT DoCoMo To Launch LTE Upgrade In December

Japan's NTT DoCoMo has announced plans to upgrade its entire 3G network to Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G technology in December this year.

According to the company, the upgrade to LTE will allow it to offer mobile broadband speeds ten times greater than what it can currently offer.

The LTE services will offer download and upload speeds of 37.5Mbps and 12.5Mbps respectively. These speeds will be boosted to 75Mbps downloads and 37.5Mbps if the user is in a building fitted with an LTE antenna.

Initially, the service will be available in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and other key areas for an investment of ¥35 billion ($430 million). The company will roll out the service in other parts of Japan with an investment of an additional ¥270 billion over the next few years.

NTT DoCoMo plans on offering the LTE service from December 24 onwards under the 'Xi' brand name. While the initial LTE roll out will only cover data, the company plans to switch voice calls to LTE in April 2011.