Japan’s Docomo prepares upgrade to bring 150Mpbs downlink speeds to its Xi LTE network

137780863 520x245 Japans Docomo prepares upgrade to bring 150Mpbs downlink speeds to its Xi LTE network

NTT Docomo, the largest mobile network operators in Japan, announced today that it will be starting prelaunch operations for an upgrade to its Xi LTE network, offering downlink speeds of up to 150 Mbps – similar to speeds being offered by South Korean operators SK Telecom and LG Uplus for their LTE-Advanced services.

Docomo will start verifying its 150 Mbps LTE service in Japan’s Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture from July 30 onward, prior to the planned launch of the service in parts of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya this October.

Docomo says it has been upgrading its LTE coverage and data transmission speeds consistently, most recently expanding its 112.5 Mbps downlink service to more than 130 cities as of this month. Its latest move has not been termed as LTE-A by the operator, so this is probably an appetizer to the final LTE-A rollout (which is expected to arrive in 2015). In February, Docomo selected Nokia Siemens and Panasonic to upgrade its network with certain LTE-A features like carrier aggregation.

The 150 Mbps service boasts double the speeds of the first LTE network that Docomo rolled out in 2010, though the operator notes it is a theoretical maximum as speeds may vary depending on network traffic or transmission environments.

With its latest move, Docomo has become the first operator outside of South Korea to roll out such high download speeds. Docomo notes that its 150 Mbps LTE network will be compatible with selected handsets introduced from October onward.

Last month, SK Telecom took the wraps off the world’s first LTE-A network offering speeds of up to 150 Mbps, which is now operational in Seoul and a further 42 cities across the Gyeonggi-do and Chungcheong-do districts. Subsequently, LG Uplus introduced a rival service earlier this month, which is currently available in Seoul and a few other major cities, but will be made available across South Korea during the third quarter of this year.

Consumers have been quick on the uptake as they display their eagerness for higher speeds – more than 150,000 subscribers signed up for SK Telecom’s LTE-A service just 14 days after its launch, making for a take-up rate of more than 10,000 new subscribers a day.

So far, only Samsung’s Galaxy S4 LTE-A handset – which launched on the same day as SK Telecom’s LTE-A network – runs on the service, though LG and Pantech are reportedly planning to release LTE-A smartphones soon.

US carriers have also been keen to push ahead with their LTE-A plans, with T-Mobile reportedly saying it will roll out LTE-A features later this year and Verizon talking about next-generation speeds.

Image Credit: Yoshikazu Tsuno via AFP/Getty Images

Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection gets release date!

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How much Metal Gear Solid can Konami fit into one package? We’re going to find out with the Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection. Crammed into two blu-ray discs will be the ultimate Metal Gear fan’s dream line-up: Metal Gear Solid, MGS2, MGS3, MGS4, MGS: Peace Walker, MGS: VR Missions (all HD’d up), the original MSX versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 and two Ashley Wood digital comics. Also featured will be an expansive 100 page art book covering the 25 years the franchise has been captivating gamers.

The PS3 exclusive set is now officially set to drop on July 9th for $49.99. Quite a bargain when you consider how many Metal Gear games you get and all the trophies you can acquire! Stay tuned as this Metal Gear geek is craving some Legacy.

Ultimate Line-Up of Fan Favorites Available in PlayStation 3 Package

Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. today announced METAL GEAR SOLID: THE LEGACY COLLECTION will be available in North America and South America on July 9, 2013.

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the METAL GEAR SOLID franchise, this PlayStation 3 exclusive package will include METAL GEAR SOLID, METAL GEAR SOLID 2: HD Edition, METAL GEAR SOLID 3: HD Edition (which includes the original MSX versions of METAL GEAR and METAL GEAR 2), METAL GEAR SOLID: Peace Walker HD Edition, METAL GEAR SOLID: VR MISSIONS, METAL GEAR SOLID 4: Trophy Edition and two Ashley Wood digital graphic novels which will be released for the first time in North America. In addition, the collection will include an all-new 100 page art book highlighting marketing art from across the globe, spanning the profound 25 year history of the esteemed franchise.

The METAL GEAR SOLID series is the seminal work of Hideo Kojima, Japan’s master game creator, and the progenitor of the stealth action game genre. With more than 33 million units sold to date, the METAL GEAR series has become a global phenomenon. The player controls a secret agent from an elite special forces unit who is sent on solo stealth missions through enemy installations, vast jungles, and sometimes even the thick of battle. Alone and surrounded by the enemy, even a special forces agent will find it tough to come out alive. But that is the secret behind the series’ popularity-the cerebral challenge of figuring out how to avoid combat, and the thrill of sneaking through enemy territory undetected.

METAL GEAR SOLID: THE LEGACY COLLECTION will be available on July 9 for $49.99 for the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system.

China to send in surveyors to disputed Senkaku islands

Chinese mapping agency vice-director says team will visit Japanese-controlled territory at an ‘appropriate time’

China will send a team to survey islands at the heart of an increasingly heated dispute with Japan, a Chinese official has said.

It is Beijing’s clearest statement yet that it intends to set foot on the Japanese-controlled territory.

The remarks by the Chinese mapping agency vice-director, Li Pengde, added to the sharpening rhetoric between the two sides over a set of uninhabited islets known as Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese.

In an interview with the state broadcaster CCTV, Li said China planned to send a team on to the islands to study their layout at an “appropriate time”. Surveying by land would allow the mapping of caves and other features not visible from the air, Li told the station.

“My hope is that we can get under way under conditions where the situation is relatively good and the survey team’s physical safety can be assured,” Li said.

The islands are the focus of a decades-long dispute that reignited in September when the Japanese government purchased three of the islands from their private owners. The move had been intended to prevent the islands being bought by Tokyo’s former nationalist mayor, who wanted to build a dock there for Japanese fishing boats and also backed sending experts to study their wildlife and terrain.

The purchase prompted anti-Japanese protests in China, and Beijing has regularly sent ships to confront the Japanese coastguard in the area since tensions spiked.

Japan’s coastguard forbids anyone of any nationality from landing on the islands, including Japanese and Chinese nationalists seeking to plant flags there.

The chain is made up of five main islands with a total area of just over six sq km (2.3 sq miles), covered in rock, scrub brush and seabird habitat. They have been uninhabited since 1940, when a fish processing plant on the main island closed, and were under US administration from the end of the second world war until 1972, when they were returned to Japanese control.

Although China’s claim to the islands is based on its interpretation of historical records, it has sought to use cartography to support that by issuing maps last year that ascribed place names to even the smallest rocks and outcrops.

The islands lie amid rich fishing grounds and a potential wealth of natural gas and other undersea mineral resources. They are roughly midway between Taiwan – which also claims sovereignty over them – and the Japanese island of Okinawa.

China and Japan have accused one another of tailing each other’s aircraft in the area. Last month Japan said a Chinese ship had locked its weapons fire control radar on to one of its ships in a hostile act. China denied the claim and accused Tokyo of seeking to escalate tensions.

China said it would continue patrols indefinitely, in an apparent attempt to wear down the Japanese coastguard.