First Commercial 5G Services Expected in March 2020
Ericsson has been selected by communications service provider KDDI as the primary 5G vendor for next-generation network deployment in Japan. KDDI expects the first commercial live 5G services to be available from March 2020, with more than 93 percent coverage of 5G base station areas specified by Japan’s telecom regulation body by the end of March 2025.
Under the agreement, Ericsson will supply KDDI with Radio Access Network equipment, including products and solutions from the Ericsson Radio System portfolio. These will allow KDDI to maximize its spectrum assets and enable the service provider to roll out commercial 5G services in several parts of Japan on their sub-6GHz and 28GHz bands for 5G New Radio (NR). KDDI’s selection of Ericsson as a 5G vendor follows nearly four years of close collaboration on 5G between the companies.
Chris Houghton, Senior Vice President, Head of Market Area North East Asia, Ericsson, says: “Having established our important partnership with KDDI in 2013, we have now expanded our collaboration efforts. We are excited about our involvement in KDDI’s 5G network buildout, which will provide a sound basis for our future collaboration as well as allowing our partner to offer users a whole new generation of mobile services.”
Japan’s telecom regulation body, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, allocated spectrum to communication service providers KDDI, SoftBank, NTT DOCOMO, and Rakuten in April 2019 in preparation for the 2020 launch of 5G services. The government ministry expressed its hope that the telecom industry would build 5G infrastructure on a broad scale, extending well beyond major cities into rural areas. KDDI reportedly aims to achieve 93.2 percent coverage of the 5G specified base station areas in Japan by the end of March 2025.
KDDI and Ericsson have carried out a large number of joint tests across a wide range of 5G use cases on the 4.5GHz and 28GHz frequency bands, including the interworking between 5G and LTE.
The two companies have been collaborating on 5G since November 25, 2015, when they announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to advance the evolution of the latest mobile technology.