The Asia-Pacific region is getting ever-closer to faster mobile broadband, with network operators in Japan, Singapore, Australia and Indonesia readying their Long Term Evolution networks. Today NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest mobile operator, affirmed its plans to deploy LTE in 2010; it also said it would shut off its 2G network in March 2011 since most subscribers now have 3G phones. NTT DoCoMo had previously said it would keep the 2G network running until December 2012. Speaking at the GSM Association’s Mobile Asia Congress 2009, Ryuji Yamada, president and CEO of NTT DoCoMo, said LTE data cards will be ready in 2010 and handsets will be ready in 2011.
Singapore Telecommunications, the largest carrier in Singapore with operations in Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines, also disclosed plans for LTE trials. SingTel has chosen Alcatel-Lucent as its equipment vendor for the trials, which will begin in the first half of 2010 and take anywhere from six to nine months. The network operator hopes the trial will help it and its regional associates and joint ventures better understand LTE and determine the best approach and strategy for its adoption in their respective local markets. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., we await Verizon’s and MetroPCS’ 2010 deployments, with netbooks and smartphones in hand.