Saturday, March 30, 2013

JCI applies for MVNO access to both KDDI and Softbank

Japan Communications Inc. (JCI) announced (J) that they have applied for MVNO access to both KDDI and Softbank Mobile (SBM) networks.

The Japanese mobile landscape has change dramatically since March 2009 when JCI started offering b-mobile data products as an MVNO using NTT Docomo's (DCM) 3G FOMA network. Each mobile carrier now has a low-frequency spectrum allocation and offers LTE (currently 3.9G). This means that, technically, Softbank should suck a lot less than previously.

Accordingly, JCI is looking to expand into a domestic multicarrier MVNO. A combined SBM/DCM network would bring expanded Band 1 (2100 MHZ) FDD-LTE and 3G access with supplementing 800 and 900 MHz bands for better rural and underground penetration. Because many more overseas phones support 900 MHz than 800 MHz, this would be a good development for people who are not purchasing Japanese carrier-branded handsets, like most Nexus phones. This also moves closer in the direction of the original Nexus plan separating phone and carrier selection.

More on Japanese frequency bands.

Internationally, they could bridge the CDMA-2000 networks of KDDI and US Sprint, to which JCI already has access.

It will be interesting to see how this goes. Such developments are actually not AT ALL in the interest of the traditional carriers - the one's on top at least. JCI has had a bit of a rocky ride with DCM. To gain open access, they had to force MIC arbitration, and then later down the road, a billing disagreement arose. So it's only natural that JCI would look to expand it's options.

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