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NTT DoCoMo develops multi-profile SIM for international roaming

A new SIM developed by NTT DoCoMo will allow customers to switch between profiles, phone numbers, and contracts when they travel overseas to other Conexus Mobile Alliance nations in the Asia-Pacific region.

NTT DoCoMo has announced developing a multi-profile SIM to be used across carriers internationally, allowing users to switch between profiles that include phone numbers, contracts, and data allowances.

The multi-profile SIM, developed alongside Gemalto and being tested with Conexus Mobile Alliance members until March 2018, works on both smartphones and tablets.

"By inserting the SIM into a smartphone or tablet, customers planning to stay overseas long term, such as expatriates and students, can not only access DOCOMO's network while in Japan, but also enjoy voice and data communications services provided directly by affiliated carriers in their respective service areas overseas," NTT DoCoMo said.

In addition to NTT DoCoMo, the Conexus Mobile Alliance includes 3 in Hong Kong, Indosat Ooredoo in Indonesia, KT in Korea, Smart in the Philippines, StarHub in Singapore, Far EasTone in Taiwan, TrueMove in Thailand, and VNPT in Vietnam.

The product includes "robust security", the carrier said, and will launch in FY18, though it said the service launch date, subscription structure, available countries and regions, and conditions of use are yet to be determined.

NTT DoCoMo has also been upgrading its own network, earlier this month announcing a 5G field trial that saw it attain 11.29Gbps throughput speeds and latency of less than 0.5 milliseconds in conjunction with Huawei.

The field trial, conducted in Yokohama Minato Mirai 21 District over the 4.5GHz spectrum band, made use of new numerology and frame structure according to 3GPP 5G New Radio current standards.

"The macro cell was made up with one base station that works in the 4.5GHz band with 200MHz bandwidth, 64 TRXs, and 23 UEs of both static and mobile types," Huawei explained.

"According to the test, 11.29Gbps total user throughput was achieved with 24 layers, with each UE receiving two layers. The peak spectrum efficiency reached was 79.82bps/Hz/cell. With new frame structure and numerology, less than 0.5ms one-way user plane delay was achieved."

The latency amounted to around one-tenth of that seen on 4G networks.

The trial was part of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between Huawei and DoCoMo in December 2014, which also saw the companies conduct an outdoor field trial of Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) in Chengdu, China over a year ago.

Huawei said the two companies are continuing to test Massive MIMO; mixed numerology using filtered OFDM (f-OFDM); and combined performance of Sparse Code Multiple Access (SCMA), Polar Code, and f-OFDM in Japan.

"Our success in 5G large-scale field trial in the 4.5GHz band brought the whole industry one step closer to 5G commercialization by 2020," said Takehiro Nakamura, vice president and managing director of NTT DoCoMo's 5G lab.

"DoCoMo and Huawei have been expanding their collaboration on 5G from R&D to international spectrum harmonization initiatives for 5G since December 2014. Together with Huawei, we will continue to promote 5G both from technical and ecosystem perspective."

NTT DoCoMo has also partnered with Finnish networking company Nokia on 5G technology, conducting a trial at the beginning of last year that saw them attain download speeds of 2Gbps across 70GHz millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum.

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