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IN : 5G commercial launch

Japanese operators launched 5G services

Three out of four mobile service providers launched 5G services

Three out of four mobile service providers launched 5G services on three successive days at the end of March 2020. The fourth local player Rakuten Mobile is expected to follow in June 2020.

  • NTT DoCoMo launched Japan’s first 5G smartphone service on March 25, 2020. The network is live in 150 areas in Japan covering 29 of the nation’s 47 prefectures. Customers can get 1 GB of data at 1,980 JPY (16.8 EUR) or 100GB of data at 7,650 JPY (62 EUR) per month, excluding taxes.
  • KDDI launched 5G mobile services in 15 of Japan’s 47 prefectures on March 26, 2020. The operator said it aims to install 10,000 base transceiver stations by 31 March 2021 and another 10,000 BTS by the end of March 2022. Customers can get unlimited data and 30 GB for tethering at 3,460 JPY (29 EUR) per month, 60 GB for tethering at 4,260 JPY (36 EUR), and 80 GB for tethering at 5,460 JPY (46 EUR). Last plan includes streaming from Netflix, YouTube Premium and Apple Music.
  • SoftBank turned-on its 5G network on March 27, 2020. 5G mobile services are available in selected areas in seven prefectures across Japan for an additional charge of 1 000 JPY (8 EUR) per month. The operator aims to install over 10,000 5G base stations by the end of March 2023 and expects population coverage to reach 90% by the end of 2021.

The last two players are teaming together to speed up 5G rollout in rural areas. To this end, they announced on April 1st, 2020 the setup of a joint venture, 5G JAPAN. The joint venture’s goal is to promote infrastructure sharing based on the mutual use of base station assets held by the two companies. The initial capital of the joint venture will be 500 million JPY (4.24 million EUR) and each operator will own 50% of the stakes.

  • Rakuten Mobile is set to make a full-scale entry into the mobile phone market on April 8, 2020, when the company will turn on its 4G network. The greenfield operator plans to launch its 5G operation in June 2020.

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