KDDI Launches True 3G

Those who read me know that I have a chip on my shoulder about how the world press overstates the accomplishments of the Japanese mobile industry, mostly to the detriment of the Korean industry. Well, this story is no exception: RCR Wireless News tells us how KDDI plans to launch its 3G EV-DO network on Nov 28 and that the EV-DO launch will be “one of the first in the world”. Well, that’s true if by “one of the first” they mean 5th. SK Telecom beat them by (an apparently insignificant) 22 months! The article also says “followed by operators in South Korea and the US”, when the correct verb is ‘following’. Also, we are told the old news that KDDI has 10 Million 1x subscribers to DoCoMo’s 1M FOMA subscribers… Hmm. 1x isn’t 3G in my books, but FOMA is, so that’s as valid a comparison as saying KDDI kicks ass because they have 10 grapes and DoCoMo only has 1 watermelon. Now, enough ranting, the upshot is that this is good news, and KDDI is evolving their networks on schedule. The EV-DO network will provide real world speeds of 400-700 Kbps, and KDDI is pricing it aggressively at a flat rate of US$38/mo for data. This compares to Verizon’s pricing of $80/mo for similar service. The difference in pricing is partly explained because KDDI expects Japanese customers to primarily use the network for data to the phone, while Verizon customers will use it primarily for data-gorging laptops.

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