Japan: KDDI to use Starlink
August 31, 2023
Japanese telco KDDI and SpaceX have signed an agreement whereby KDDI will provide satellite cellular service using SpaceX’s Starlink and KDDI’s wireless spectrum throughout Japan.
Their statement says that the agreement will enhance KDDI’s cellular connectivity to areas beyond the limits of traditional 4G/5G networks and include rural areas, remote islands and mountainous regions.
KDDI and SpaceX say they have a “common vision of connecting the unconnected to empower customers to stay connected”, and this new dimension of connectivity will turn on areas previously unreachable by cell signals from any provider.
The companies plan to start with SMS text services as early as 2024 and will eventually provide voice and data services. Almost all existing smartphones on KDDI network will be compatible with this new service as it employs the device’s existing radio services.
KDDI adds: “[Our] network enables our customer’s daily lives and helps them share unforgettable moments. We are proud of providing 99.9 per cent ‘population coverage’ to the people of Japan. Unfortunately, only a small portion of the Japanese land mass is habitable and often it is difficult to use traditional technologies to provide coverage from coast to coast. Our extensive network continues to grow in coverage as we deploy more fiber and satellite backhauled base stations. In addition to our continued efforts, we will provide “connecting the unconnected” experience, by enabling smartphones to connect to satellites.”