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NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest mobile provider, serving over 60 million mobile customers in Japan, said Friday it will soon launch the world’s first femtocells to support both 3G and LTE.

Femtocells are the smallest microcells, usually installed in homes, serving 3-4 users at a time. When cellular coverage inside homes is lacking, a femtocell enables users to maintain their cellular connection.

DoCoMo said its new femtocells can provide voice and data services on DoCoMo’s “Xi” LTE and “FOMA” 3G networks. It connects to the mobile operator by land line.

NTT DoCoMo says 3G smartphone users consume eight times more data a month than users of i-mode handsets, and that LTE smartphone users consume nine times more data than 3G users.

All three of Japan’s major operators have now launched LTE.

Softbank now has the most hotspots of all Japanese carriers. In September 2012, the company counted more than 310,000 hotspots, while KDDI had 200,000 and DoCoMo had only 43,000, according to Softbank’s figures.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Japan & Korea: More LTE than USA, Japan and S Korea Report Big LTE Growth, SK Telecom Introduces Voice over LTE, SK Telecom Does Multi-Carrier LTE, South Korea Completes Nationwide LTE Coverage, Qualcomm Demos LTE to WCDMA Call, Voice Over LTE, Clearwire: Riding the TD-LTE Wave?, China Mobile Announces TD-LTE Rollout, China iPhone Projections, Clearwire and China Mobile Announce TD-LTE Testing Plan, LTE Situation Report

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