Utility provider TEPCO Power Grid (TEPCO PG) and Japanese mobile operators KDDI (au), SoftBank Corp and Rakuten Mobile Network, have announced that they will work together to collaborate on trials of base station site and equipment sharing utilising TEPCO PG’s utility poles and other electric power infrastructure, ahead of the introduction of fifth-generation mobile communications systems in the country. The trials are due to begin in the first half of this year, the joint statement confirmed.
Given that 5G uses higher frequency bands in order to deliver even greater data speeds and transmission capacity, it is anticipated that the number of 5G base stations needed will eclipse that for 4G LTE. This creates a headache for the authorities and planners in terms of sourcing and commissioning installation locations while working to protect the environment and landscape. Here, TEPCO PG has been working together with KDDI to explore the shared utilisation of utility poles and other electric power infrastructure and base station equipment between mobile network operators (MNOs), and as preparations are now complete, the companies are set to begin the trials using actual equipment to verify the feasibility of location and equipment sharing.
In short, the four companies aim to reduce the infrastructure construction costs and contribute to the smooth nationwide introduction of 5G.