Softbank Mobile announced today that their recently awarded 900 MHz band will not be used for "4G" LTE but instead for 3G. All of the phones announced, including the gimmicky Geiger counter, will support 900 MHz. Consumers will have access to the 900 MHz band from July 25, 2012.
This is good in the short term. If you check out the iPhone tech specs, you'll see it already supports UMTS-900, so come 7/25, when SBM switches it on, I imagine all of you iPhone users will immediately see the benefit of the increased penetration of this relatively low-frequency band.
In the long term, there is no future in 3G. Docomo is building out a world-standard FDD-LTE network (Xi). SBM is converting over Wilcom's XGP to a TD-LTE network called Softbank 4G. But as potential buyers of the "new" iPad + 4G (renamed to "cellular") came to find out, SBM's LTE isn't compatible.
It could be argued that the decision to immediately apply this band to the now outdated 3G standard is short sighted, but I guess SBM doesn't really have too much of a choice. They need to improve network penetration and throughput, and they needed to do it yesterday.