TDK will start selling LTO 3 cartridges from the middle of November, the company has announced.

The 400GB cartridges can transfer data at 80Mbit/s. They will cost 20,500 Yen (£104) per cartridge in Japan, according to a company spokesman, but prices outside Japan were not made available.

The cartridge contains tape 12.65mm wide and has 704 recording tracks. It maintains a low error rate up to 25,000 reads/writes, TDK said. The product is the first to pass certification testing by the CVE, the organisation certifying LTO standardization.

LTO is a consortium comprising Certance, HP and IBM. LTO tape is considered a "super tape" format and competes with Quantum's SDLT (now DLT-S) and Sony's S-AIT formats. Certance announced Thursday that it had started selling its brand of LTO Ultrium 3 format cartridges for $147 per cartridge. The same day, however, Quantum announced its intention to buy Certance for $60 million and so get a foothold into the main competing format to its own.

TDK also plans to sell a write-once type cartridge, but is not saying when.