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Japan’s top mobile operator, NTT Docomo, announced this week that its new LTE network has hit 4 million subscribers. Docomo’s Xi network passed the 4 million subscriber mark on 22 July, around one and a half months after reaching 3 million subscribers.

According to the operator, the pace of new subscriptions nearly doubled following the introduction of a wider range of smartphones compatible with the Xi LTE network earlier in the summer. Docomo said it plans to introduce more Xi-compatible smartphones, mobile Wi-Fi routers and other devices as well as related services such as Xi Talk 24 for free and unlimited voice calls between Docomo customers using Xi-compatible smartphones.

Docomo’s announcement follows South Korea’s SK Telecom which revealed yesterday that it has also hit the same 4 million LTE subscriber mark. The operator plans to roll out the multi-carrier LTE technology across Seoul and six other metropolitan cities by the end of 2012. Around 200,000 LTE-enabled Samsung Galaxy S3 devices were sold in the 10 days following its launch on 9 July.

South Korea’s second-largest operator, KT said last week its LTE users were at 1.4 million while LG Uplus noted it should reach 3 million LTE users “in a few days”. KT, meanwhile, said last week that it is moving to start so-called voice over LTE (VoLTE) services, to compete more effectively with rivals.

Cumulatively, South Korea has a total of some 8.4M LTE users.

SK said this “solidifies” its position as the world’s second-largest LTE service provider behind Verizon Wireless. According to Wireless Intelligence, the Verizon has more than 9.8 million LTE connections. AT&T’s LTE network is now live in 47 markets. AT&T has approximately 43 million smartphone subscribers and sold 2.5 million LTE devices in the 2nd quarter.

Only 9% of India’s 1.2 billion people now have Internet access, notes the Wall Street Journal, because copper and fiber optic lines don’t reach into smaller towns and rural areas. Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, chairman of Reliance Group, plans to change all that, targeting 700 cities, including 100 high-priority markets, and investing billions in a new, nationwide TD-LTE network. Reliance is the only player with a pan-India Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum license. Samsung won the much-awaited LTE TDD deal from Reliance for the Mumbai circle, reports Light Reading.

The Asia & Pacific region is poised to overtake North America this year in number of 4G/LTE subscribers, thanks to large gains in South Korea and Japan, according to Parks Associates.

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