Earlier today, Japan’s largest mobile services provider NTT Docomo released the Samsung Galaxy S II LTE, the country's first LTE-compatible handset. While the provider has offered LTE service since late 2010, today marked the first time an LTE-capable smartphone has been available for purchase there. NTT Docomo’s LTE service, dubbed "Xi" (pronounced "crossie"), offers speeds up to ten times faster than the previous 3G FOMA service, although the network is still in its infancy.

"If you use it, you'll be satisfied with the speed," said the company’s President, Ryuji Yamada, at today’s press event in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo. "It can compete well with the iPhone." NTT Docomo is the only one of Japan's three largest carriers not to carry Apple's devices. Negotiations are rumored to have broken down between the two companies over Apple's hard stance against carrier-installed applications. The provider is reportedly aiming for 1.3 million contracts for LTE-compatible handsets by the end of the year and hoping to expand that to 30 million by 2015.

The Galaxy S II LTE will fetch an effective price of ¥20,000 (about $260) with a two-year contract.