NTT DoCoMo Inc. has announced the development of micro base stations for the FOMA® (a mobile service based on W-CDMA) 3G network that are up to 1/30th the size of conventional base stations.

The FOMA service area has developed steadily, reaching 96 percent of the population nationwide at the end of September 2003.

It is hoped that the micro base stations will allow the service to expand more economically and with greater flexibility for adaptation to operational environments.

The micro base stations have both outdoor and indoor applications. In outdoor areas with low population densities, the stations' low cost means that enough units can be installed to ensure necessary coverage on an economical basis. For indoor applications in buildings and underground malls, where installation spaces are limited, an external antenna allows the stations to be placed out of the way without sacrificing signal strength.

For these indoor applications, the plan is to have a total of 1600 conventional and micro base stations in operation nationwide by the end of March 2004, increasing to 3000 by the end of March 2005.