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Mobile phone networks used in Japan

Japan Network

Japan is arguably the world's most advanced mobile market and a world leader in mobile phone technology, with 40 percent of mobile data revenues worldwide are generated here, three-quarters of the population use the mobile web, and 4-in-5 users are on 3G devices.

See below table on the networks deployed in Japan.

Carrier2G network3G networkPHS network
NTT DoCoMoPDC 800MHz/1.5GHz
PHS 1.9GHz
au by KDDIcdmaOne 800MHzCDMA2000 1x 800MHz
SoftBankPDC 1.5GHzW-CDMA 2GHz
"SoftBank 3G"
TU-KA (a subsidiary company of KDDI) closed on Mar31, 2008PDC 1.5GHzhas obtained a 3G licence
eMobileWCDMA/HSDPA 1.7GHz (EM)
WillcomPHS 1.9GHz

Cell Phone Networks

What is Dual-band/Tri-band/Quad-band
What is GSM?
What is 3G?
What is WCDMA?
What is CDMA?
What is PHS?

What is Dual-band/Tri-band/Quad-band?

Dual-band, Tri-band and Quad-band all belongs to the 2G family. It denotes the frequency bands or frequency ranges capability of a mobile phone set.

Dual-band - (or dualband) refers to functionality that allows a cellphone to support two frequency bands. A dual-band phone operates at both the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum. Dual-band works in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and much of South America.

Tri-band - operates on three frequency bands, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 1900 MHz, allowing you to use it in Europe, Africa, Asia, nearly all of North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Quad-band - literally means four bands. A quad-band phone(850/900/1800/1900) will offer more coverage and allows you to roam almost anywhere globally. It covers the 850 Mhz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 1900 MHz frequency ranges.

GSM frequency bands used around the world:
* 850 MHz (U.S./Canada/Latin America/Brazil (Only the carrier Vivo)
* 900 MHz (Europe/Brazil/Africa/Australia/Asia (ex Japan and S. Korea))
* 1800 MHz (Europe/Australia/Asia/Brazil)
* 1900 MHz (U.S./Canada/Latin America)
More than 90% of all countries adopt the GSM standard.

What is GSM?

Global System for Mobile communications (GSM: originally from Groupe SpHcial Mobile) is the most popular standard for mobile phones in the world. Its ubiquity makes international roaming very common between mobile phone operators, enabling subscribers to use their phones in many parts of the world. GSM differs from its predecessors(1G networks - radio signals were analog) in that both signalling and speech channels are digital, and thus is considered a second generation (2G) mobile phone system. This has also meant that data communication was easy to build into the system. GSM also pioneered a low-cost alternative to voice calls, the Short message service (SMS, also called "short-text messaging sevice")

What is 3G?

3G is the third generation of mobile phone standards and technology, superseding 2G. It is based on the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) family of standards. 3G Services include wide-area wireless voice telephony, video calls, and broadband wireless data, all in a mobile environment. 3G promises increased bandwidth, up to 384 Kbps when a device is stationary or moving at pedestrian speed, 128 Kbps in a car, and 2 Mbps in fixed applications. 3G will work over wireless air interfaces such as GSM, TDMA, and CDMA.

What is WCDMA?

W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) is a type of 3G cellular network. W-CDMA is the higher speed transmission protocol used in the Japanese FOMA system. It utilizes the direct-sequence spread spectrum method of asynchronous code division multiple access to achieve higher speeds and support more users.

W-CDMA was developed by NTT DoCoMo as the air interface for their 3G network FOMA. Later NTT DoCoMo submitted the specification to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as a candidate for the international 3G standard known as IMT-2000. The ITU eventually accepted W-CDMA as part of the IMT-2000 family of 3G standards, as an alternative to CDMA2000, EDGE, and the short range DECT system. Later, W-CDMA was selected as the air interface for UMTS, the 3G successor to GSM.

What is CDMA?

Short for Code-Division Multiple Access, a digital cellular technology that uses spread-spectrum techniques. Unlike competing systems, such as GSM, that use TDMA, CDMA does not assign a specific frequency to each user. Instead, every channel uses the full available spectrum. Individual conversations are encoded with a pseudo-random digital sequence. CDMA consistently provides better capacity for voice and data communications than other commercial mobile technologies, allowing more subscribers to connect at any given time, and it is the common platform on which 3G technologies are built.

CDMA is a military technology first used during World War II by English allies to foil German attempts at jamming transmissions. The allies decided to transmit over several frequencies, instead of one, making it difficult for the Germans to pick up the complete signal. Because Qualcomm created communications chips for CDMA technology, it was privy to the classified information. Once the information became public, Qualcomm claimed patents on the technology and became the first to commercialize it.

What is PHS?

PHS (Personal Handyphone System) is a low-powered wireless phone technology developed in Japan and rather different from other cellular phone technologies.

Designed as dual-mode phone between public wireless network and home (or corporate) phone line.
Data communication in 32k/64kbps circuit switching or 32k/128k/256kbps packet exchange.
Can be used even in subway stations or underground arcades because cell stations are relatively small and can be installed easily.

PHS has been deployed in Japan since mid-1990's; now also in China, Taiwan, Thailand (where called PCT) etc. Today PHS is considered as low-cost data communication service rather than voice phone in Japan. Unlimited data communication plans are available

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