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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

New Year Special Features '99

  • WinStar, KDD Set Up Venture for Wireless Access Service
  • January 8, 1999 (TOKYO) — U.S.-based WinStar Communications Inc., KDD Corp., Japan’s largest provider of international telephone services, and Sumitomo Corp. announced that they have established a company to offer high-speed wireless access service.
    On Jan. 5, the new company, which will be called KDD WinStar Corp., submitted its application for a Type I carrier license to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.

    The company was capitalized at 1 billion yen (US$8.9 million), with KDD providing 55 percent of the funds, WinStar 35 percent, and Sumitomo 10 percent.

    Its headquarters will be in the KDD Building in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward. The firm’s wireless access service is scheduled to be launched in May, and it seeks to generate annual sales of 1 billion yen after the initial three years of operation.

    The company will offer short-range wireless links to connect customers and telecom operators. Fees for the service are not available as yet, but they are expected to be set at a level lower than those for the discount “Digital Access” short-range leased-line service offered by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT).

    Also, customers of the new service will be able to use it along with all the other services offered by KDD, such as long distance and international call services and those for accessing the Internet.

    The service will offer two types of connections. The first is a one-to-one link between a user and a relay base station (P – P connection), and the other is a one-to-multi link between a relay station and a multiple number of users (P – MP connection).

    KDD said the service will offer high speeds, with maximum data transmission rates of 156Mbps for the P – P type connections and 10Mbps for the P – MP connections. The P – P connections will use a 22GHz radio frequency band and the P – MP connections will utilize the 38GHz band.

    Areas where the service will be available have not been determined. However, the company plans to build many relay stations, mainly in major urban areas. Customers will need to be located within 4km of a relay station to make use of the P – P connection service, and within 1km to utilize the P – MP connection service.

    The venture is considering the feasibility of locating relay stations on buildings owned by companies in the Sumitomo group.

    The advantages of using radio links rather than conventional wire lines include the fact that quick changes can be made to the system. Also, the costs to construct the system are lower because there is less need for line-laying work.

    KDD doesn’t own access lines. It leases short-range lines from other operators, such as NTT and the regional new common carriers.

    There are signs that other companies are planning to enter the business of offering similar short-range telecom services. In an effort to boost competition, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications in September 1998 made public its guidelines for allocating radio frequencies to businesses intending to offer wireless access services.

    According to those guidelines, for example, only four operators will be allowed to offer 22GHz band wireless access services in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

    Since July 1998, Japan Telecom Co., Ltd. has offered a wireless access service that covers some large urban areas, including both Tokyo and Osaka. Therefore, because the number of companies that will be allowed to offer services is limited, other operators will likely move quickly and follow Japan Telecom and KDD in applying for permission to launch similar services.

    More information in English is available at: http://www.winstar.com/PressRelease/ 15japan.htm

    (Nikkei Communications)

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