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Japan shuffles spectrum

Posted: 01 Sep 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:WiMAX? Japan? 2.5GHz? MIC? 802.16e?

Frequency issues may be a gating factor in Japan, where WiMAX penetration depends on how the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) regulates the usage of the 2.5GHz band.

Late in 2004, MIC undertook a study of frequency reallocation measures to expedite ubiquitous networking. In December 2005, the group offered recommendations for spectrum usage from 800MHz to 81GHz. The MIC study group chose the 2.5GHz band specifically for low-cost broadband mobile wireless services not provided by current mobile-phone networks. The report listed 802.16e, 802.20 and next-generation Personal Handyphone System (PHS) as possible broadband mobile wireless-access systems that support continuous Internet Protocol connection.

Also recommended for broadband mobile wireless was a 70MHz band, ranging from 2.535GHz to 2.605GHz, that is part of a reserved set of frequencies for IMP-2000 services. After the report was issued last year, the adjacent band up to 2.63GHz (25MHz), which had been reserved for satellite broadcasting, was also allocated to mobile wireless services, yielding a total of 95MHz for potential use.

The study group called for downlink speeds of at least 20Mbps, faster than 3G or 3.5G; uplinks of at least 10Mbps; higher frequency utilization than for 3.5G systems; and TDD as a cost-effective alternative to FDD. An advisory telecommunication council will issue a draft report in September, with a final report due in November.

The ministry aims to have services deployed in 2008, a timetable that favors WiMAX. Mobile WiMAX (IEEE 802.16e) has substantial support in Japan.

- Yoshiko Hara
EE Times

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