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  • General Information that you will need and want to know before visiting Japan. We will give you all the tips and tricks you need to know to make the most out of your trip to Japan.
Frequency Band of Docomo MVNO

Frequency Band of Docomo MVNO

Frequency Band of Docomo MVNO

I’m sure that there are many of you wondering if your phone is compatible with the MVNO Docomo Frequency Band. So here is an easy summary for you so that you can fully understand the frequency band in order to get the right SIM card for your phone.

Docomo’s mobile communications have both the LTE (FDD-LTE) and 3G (W-CDMA) which I’m sure many of you have heard of. You may often hear people talk about the “LTE” and “3G” but you may not exactly know what it is. Well the LTE and 3G both refer to “communication standard”.

 

The frequency of LTE is the following:

-2GHz band or 2.1 GHz band (Band 1)

-1.7 GHz band or 1.8 GHz band (Band 3)

-800 MHz band (Band 19)

-1.5 GHz band (Band 21)

-700 MHz band (Band 28)

 

The frequency for 3G (W-CDMA) is the following:

-Band 1 (2 GHz band or 2.1 GHz band)

-Band 6 (800 MHz band)

-Band 9 (1.7 GHz band or 1.8 GHz band)

-Band 19 (800 MHz band)

There are a few important things to know when getting a SIM card. Even if your phone is compatible with the LTE terminals if it is not compatible with the 3G terminals then you may not be able to make phone calls. All terminals that are not compatible with VoLTE become 3G calls and so it is important to make sure that your phone supports the 3G frequency band. Even if the phone does not support 3G if it can connect to VoLTE in an LTE area you will be able to make phone calls.

So if you are wondering what the different bands are for the LTE and 3G I will go into more details below.

 

 

LTE Band 1 (2GHz band or 2.1 GHz band)/ maximum download speed of 75 Mbps

This is the main Docomo frequency and it is for area countermeasure which means that it covers a large area so that you are still able to get a signal. This is widely operated on a nationwide scale.

All of the LTE compatible models released by Docomo correspond to Band 1. If you would like to use a Docomo mobile with an MVNO then you should have no problems using. However, if you are using a SIM free phone then you will need to check to see if it corresponds to Band 1. Since Band 1 is a band that is developed globally in most cases phones that are made overseas are compatible with Band 1.

In other countries Band 1 may be 2.1 GHz band whereas in Japan Band 1 is 2GHz band but these are the same thing.

 

LTE Band 3 (1.7 GHz band or 1.8 GHz band) / Maximum download speed 150 Mbps

The LTE Band 3 is limited to Tomei Osaka but it is the fastest with the maximum download speed being 150 Mbps. This frequency band is more about speed than coverage. It depends on the area but there are many areas that support the Band 1 and Band 3 frequency. If there is only Band 1 in the area you are in then it will still work but the Band 1 maximum download speed is 75 Mbps. This is because Band 1 is more about coverage than speed.

Recently there has been a huge increase in areas that can support Band 3 so it would probably be best to choose have a phone that can support the Band 3 frequency. Especially if you plan to use your device in the Tomei-Osaka area then you should choose a device that supports Band 3. Band 3 like Band 1 is also supported by many phones made overseas.

Band 3 is globally known to be 1.8 GHz band but in Japan it is 1.7 GHz band but again these are the same thing.

 

Band 19 (800 MHz band) / maximum download speed 75 Mbps

This is a frequency that is available in the suburbs and mountains. So if you are going to be in the suburbs or are going to go hiking then you will want to make sure that your device is compatible with this frequency. Band 19 has a low frequency of 800 MHz band and that is why it is easy to pick up these radio waves even inside of buildings. So a device should be able to support Band 19 as well.

 

Band 21 (1.5 GHz band) / maximum download speed of 112.5 Mbps

This band is for speed control as well. This is more about speed than coverage so this can mainly only be picked up in Hokkaido, Tohoku, Shikoku, Hokuriku and other regional cities that are the center frequencies. This is also available in Tomei Osaka.

 

3G (W-CDMA system)

The 3G frequency was what was used before the LTE came out. The 3G has two different systems which are the W-CDMA system (known as UMTS system in Europe) and the CDMA 2000 system. Docomo is a W-CDMA system so the Docomo MVNO also uses the W-CDMA system. AU uses the CDMA 2000 system and AU MVNO uses the CDMA 2000 system phone calls only.

 

Band 1 (2 GHz band or 2.1 GHz band)

This band is used in a very wide area and so it is docomo’s central frequency band.

 

Band 6 (800 MHz band)

800 MHz band is the Docomo FOMA plus area service which is basically the 3G service. The FOMA plus area service supports both Band 6 and Band 19 but most areas support Band 6 and it is very rare that an area supports Band 19.

 

Band 9 (1.7 GHz band or 1.8 GHz band)

This band is only supported in Kanto, Tokai, Kinki area (only in Tomei Osaka).

 

Band 19 (800 MHz band)

As explained above, Band 19 is also a part of the 3G service (Aka FOMA plus area) and is supported in some urban areas, however, with the expansion of LTE areas it seems that the Band 19 is becoming close to non-existent in most areas.

For some devices they may not be compatible with Band 6 but are compatible with Band 19. And in some cases even if it is only compatible with Band 19 it can be used in a Band 6 area.

 

Summary

If you are using a SIM free phone in Japan it is important to look into which frequency band it corresponds to and then check to see if your SIM card is compatible with your phone.

Checking the frequency band of LTE is of course important but people often tend to overlook the 3G frequency band. When you make phone calls it uses the 3G line so it is mandatory that your phone is compatible with the 3G frequency (FOMA plus area).

You should also check to see whether Band 6 is compatible with Band 19. Band 19 is compatible with both. When using the Docomo MVNO it is important to have a device that has LTE and 3G frequencies that correspond to Band 1.

 

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