Greenfield operator Rakuten launched commercial 5G services in late September 2020
Greenfield operator Rakuten launched commercial 5G services in late September 2020 in certain areas across six prefectures of the country. The service initially offered via Non-Stand Alone (NSA) 5G architecture, is already available in parts of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Hokkaido, Osaka and Hyogo. Rakuten Mobile’s President Yoshihisa Yamada said that the operator is expecting the 5G to be available in Japan’s all 47 prefectures by end-March 2021. The operator expects to launch a Stand-Alone 5G network in the second quarter of 2021.
Rival operator NTT DOCOMO launched Japan’s first 5G smartphone service in March 2020. The network was live in 150 areas in Japan covering 29 of the nation’s 47 prefectures.
KDDI launched 5G mobile services in 15 of Japan’s 47 prefectures in March 2020. The operator announced it aims to install 10,000 base stations by 31 March 2021 and another 10,000 base stations by the end of March 2022.
SoftBank also turned-on its 5G network in March 2020. 5G coverage was available in selected areas in seven prefectures across Japan. The operator aims to install over 10,000 5G base stations by the end of March 2023.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced plans to start allowing certain 4G frequencies to be converted to 5G in summer 2020, enabling providers to use existing base stations to power 5G networks.