Japan’s biggest mobile network operator (MNO) by subscribers, NTT DOCOMO, has announced its intentions to up peak download speeds on its Premium 4G LTE service to 500Mbps next year, as well as confirming plans to launch a commercial ‘5G’ network in 2020. Speaking at a presentation at the Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2016 event, DOCOMO’s new president and CEO Kazuhiro Yoshizawa said that the MNO is currently delivering speeds of up to 300Mbps on its LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) systems, and in the current financial year (i.e. ending 31 March 2017) will offer speeds of up to 375Mbps using carrier aggregation (CA) technology. Launched in March 2015, the cellco’s LTE-A infrastructure uses a combination of spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 1500MHz, 1700MHz and 2GHz bands, and currently covers 976 cities across Japan. Yoshizawa also confirmed DOCOMO’s aim to commercially launch 5G services in fiscal year 2020, noting the telco is collaborating with Nokia and Ericsson on the technical development of 5G technology.
Last month, Ericsson and DOCOMO announced the success of a joint Proof of Concept (PoC) trial of dynamic network slicing technology for 5G networks, marking a milestone in the development of the next generation of cellular technologies. According to Ericsson, the trial demonstrated how to virtually partition a physical network into multiple co-existing logical networks which are capable of providing the most suitable resources and network topology to different types of services. In the PoC, ‘a slice-management function and network slices based on service requirements were autonomously created, enabling widely varying services to be delivered simultaneously via multiple logical networks. The PoC shows how 5G services could be connected flexibly between networks according to set policies in order to meet specific service requirements for latency, security or capacity.’