Japanese mobile network operators (MNOs) SoftBank Corp and KDDI (au) announced yesterday (1 April) the setting up of a joint venture, 5G JAPAN, which is based on an agreement announced in July 2019 designed to promote the rapid build-out of 5G networks in rural parts of the country.
Under the remit of 5G JAPAN, the two MNOs will look to promote infrastructure sharing based on the mutual use of base station assets to speed up the deployment of 5G networks in rural Japan. Further, the JV will also allow them to conduct construction design and construction management work for 5G base stations. A press release read: ‘SoftBank, under its Corporate Philosophy “Information Revolution — Happiness for everyone,” and KDDI, guided by its Group Mission to “deliver a thrilling customer experience by always going further than expected with the ultimate goal of achieving a truly connected society,” will rapidly construct 5G networks that serve all industries. Both companies will do this with the aim of raising Japan’s international competitiveness by contributing to its industrial development, regional revitalisation and national resilience.’
TeleGeography notes that in July 2019, the two MNOs issued a joint statement confirming they would explore options such as the setting up of a construction management firm to oversee efforts to coordinate the installation of 5G base transceiver stations (BTS). A press release at the time confirmed that, given 5G technologies will utilise the 3.7GHz and 28GHz bands, a significant number of BTS will be needed countrywide, requiring considerable long-term investment in deployment activities. Per plans submitted to the communications ministry in April 2019, KDDI – Japan’s second largest MNO by subscribers – said it would look to deploy more than 42,000 base stations for 5G services, while number three player SoftBank initially set out its stall to install more than 11,000.