Japan: SoftBank, KDDI cooperate on rural 5G
July 4, 2019
SoftBank and KDDI they have reached an agreement on the mutual use of their base station assets to jointly promote the rapid build-out of 5G networks in Japan’s rural areas.
Many issues lie ahead for Japanese society, including an aging population, a shrinking workforce, depopulation in rural areas, deteriorating infrastructure and natural disasters of increased intensity. To address these issues, the Japanese government is advocating Society 5.0 and promoting initiatives to achieve it. With the spread of a super-smart society under Society 5.0, large volumes of data will need to be shared to utilise IoT, big data and AI, and a rapid build-out of 5G networks is expected to help facilitate this. In particular, 5G networks are expected to help resolve Japan’s regional issues by enabling remote monitoring and operation through the transmission of high-definition images. Furthermore, 5G networks can help increase productivity by facilitating data gathering and analysis, which could contribute to the revitalization of regional industries, including local companies and start-ups.
Since 5G networks use the 28GHz and 3.7GHz high-frequency bands, many base stations need to be installed nationwide, and this requires long-term construction and large investment commitments. Accordingly, to quickly provide services that meet Japan’s regional revitalisation needs, more than ever before, carriers need to promote mutual infrastructure sharing to efficiently construct a network of 5G base stations. To accelerate the build-out of 5G networks in rural areas, SoftBank and KDDI will explore options with a view to establishing a joint construction management company that would facilitate construction designs and manage construction work to efficiently utilise the base station assets of both companies.
As a first step, both companies will establish a preparatory office, and starting this fall, conduct joint trials in Asahikawa City in Hokkaido, Narita City in Chiba Prefecture and Fukuyama City in Hiroshima Prefecture. In addition to streamlining processes from design to construction management stages, the trials will be used to verify the effects of 5G network quality improvements and shortened construction periods in rural areas.
SoftBank, under its Corporate Philosophy “Information Revolution — Happiness for everyone,” and KDDI, guided by its Group Mission to “deliver a thrilling customer experience by always going further than expected with the ultimate goal of achieving a truly connected society,” will rapidly construct 5G networks that serve all industries. Both companies will do this with the aim of raising Japan’s international competitiveness by contributing to its industrial development, regional revitalisation and national resilience.