RCR Wireless News quotes NTT DOCOMO president and CEO, Kazuhiro Yoshizawa, as saying that the Japanese carrier aims to launch a pre-commercial 5G service in September 2019. In a conference call with investors and analysts, Yoshizawa also said that the mobile network operator (MNO) plans to deploy full-blown commercial 5G services across Japan by mid-2020, with customers able to experience 5G services during the Rugby World Cup 2019. The MNO has already signed up some 1,800 partners to its 5G Open partner programme, through which it aims to create 5G-based solutions, and expects to have boosted this to 5,000 by the end of 2021.
‘We would like to create commercialised solutions one after another, and these solutions will be deployed through our corporate sales teams across Japan in a horizontal manner,’ the DOCOMO official is quoted as saying. ‘We are working together with various partners to realise remote medicine, and also, disaster prevention measures, so that we can contribute to the development of society and industries,’ he added.
In unrelated news, Kazuhiro Yoshizawa has said that DOCOMO will lower its mobile phone fees in response to a government call for charges to be cut. Yoshizawa confirmed last week that the carrier will slash its mobile charges by 20% to 40% in the April-June 2019 quarter, while confirming that handset payments and service charges will be separated under the new regime. The MNO’s move is expected to prompt its two major rivals KDDI (au) and SoftBank Corp to follow suit. The big three mobile carriers currently offer similar packaged plans combining handset and service fees. ‘The plans [currently in place] are complicated and difficult to understand. We want to review our plans boldly to make them simple and easy to understand,’ Yoshizawa said in a news conference last week.