Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The reason why the Docomo Galaxy Nexus won't support LTE

A Gigazine article is claiming to have the answer from NTT Docomo as to why their version of the Galaxy Nexus (SC-04D) won't support Xi LTE, and it's all about speed - not download speed, but speed in which it can be brought to market. NTT Docomo declined to say exactly how much longer it would take to field an LTE model, but the impression is that it would be unacceptably long.

My impression is that it is unacceptably long because the iPhone 4S is all over the news (even I wrote a couple of posts about it  ^^; ). The Docomo Galaxy Nexus will go on sale across Japan in November.
「GALAXY NEXUS SC-04D」のLTE搭載を見送った理由ですが、ほぼ世界最速の部類に入るスピードでいち早く発売するために3Gモデルという形になりました。どれくらい時間がかかるのかについて、具体的なことは申し上げられませんが、LTEモデルを提供するには3Gモデルよりも時間がかかります。なお、「GALAXY NEXUS SC-04D」本体にLTEのチップは搭載されておらず、LTEモデルをリリースするかどうかについては現時点では未定です。
NTT Docomo left the door open for a later release of an LTE model but says it is currently undetermined. Now, I'm really wondering if the Docomo Nexus will ship with an unlockable bootloader.

It will support sp mode, sp mail, HSDPA/HSUPA (14/5.7 Mbps), and tethering (with automatic APN switching and a surcharge). It won't have one seg, osaifu keitai, or water proofing (PDF J).


  1. Well if it doesn't have LTE I won't feel so bad about having got the GSII over this (until the GSII LTE comes out anyway). It seems a bad move on Docomo's part though, it would really help to set it apart from the competition if it had LTE.

  2. I agree.

    But then there is no the iPhone 4S on SBM and AU. Looking at the feature set of the nexus, ICS 4.0 is going to set it apart from the competition plenty. Gingerbread looks like an old broken down Ford Pinto now!

    What I find most curious is the comment regarding an LTE version. They obviously didn't learn anything from Steve Jobs. NTT Docomo should swear up and down that an LTE version will never ever exist in a million years - right up until the day the release an LTE version ;-)

  3. A Nexus with a locked bootloader would be unheard of, and I don't know how Docomo would be allowed to get away with that when none of the US carriers are.
    Will be buying mine SIM-free overs A Nexus with a locked bootloader would be unheard of, and I don't know how Docomo would be allowed to get away with that when none of the US carriers are.
    Will be buying mine SIM-free overseas anyway, ICS looks incredible. eas anyway, ICS looks incredible.

  4. Now I just need the preorder date...

  5. Its true I suppose ICS is a nice enough feature in of itself, it would certainly be enough to sway me, but its a bit of a geek feature and I'm not sure many Japanese will know or care. Hope they upgrade the GSII with reasonable swiftness, but somehow I suspect not.

    Docomo really haven't got the knack of being definite about anything, even if they did say "an LTE version will never exist in a million years!" they would still append a "probably". Still we'll have to live in hope that its a yet unheard of double bluff and its actually gonna get LTE right away. Perhaps they'll do away with the data caps as well? ...I'll just stay here in my nice fantasy land...

  6. ICS is different enough from previous versions of Android for it to be more than a "geek feature". Finally Android looks like a polished OS that can stand up to iOS.

    One positive is that Docomo is not going to try and slap their ridiculous "Palette UI" on this one.

  7. DoCoMo has reduced the prices for the tethering smartphone plan to 8000¥ or so this month, so this is probably to help make the Galaxy Nexus and other phones more attractive.

    I might just wait for the LTE version though, simply because I'm not in Japan until early next year, and I'll need portable internet, so might as well get it all in one device!

  8. Hi there.
    What If I import from US the LTE version. Would I be able to use LTE on Docomo? (I will buy a LTE SIM from docomo)

  9. Typical of Japanese mobile phone carriers. They lag so far behind when it comes to Smartphones, it's really sad.

    Docomo smartphones up to now have had a common ugliness and clunkyness to them, but still the top models don't support key features like Osaife Keitei. They are the only ones in Japan insisting on a data cap, and they bring what could have been the hottest Android of 2011 here without LTE.

    AU (KDDI) has similar problems with feature (lack of) support on smartphones and being a CDMA carrier, only half heartily offer GSM roaming support on smartphones so most of their phones are useless outside Japan, USA, and a select very few other CDMA countries. AU also stubbornly is the only carrier in Japan that refuses to offer international SMS. Their WiMax service is great when you have a signal, but their lack of commitment to bring cutting edge phones with full support is disappointing. Japanese people travel a lot, full (voice and 3G data) GSM support is essential.

    We won't even talk about Softbank because as any iPhone 3G, 3GS, or 4 user in Japan can tell you, there is no signal in too many places and it takes forever to reacquire a signal once you get in range again.

  10. I would look at the new line of DoCoMo .. the optimus LTE and Arrow LTE are both very nice and both support Osaife Keitei and one seg

  11. I'm asking about this elsewhere, Patrixi, but did you find out definitely if the international version of the Galaxy Nexus will work with docomo's Xi?