Planning a full 5G launch in 2020

Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo announced it will begin a 5G service trial in a number of Japanese services on September 20, according to local press reports.

The telco said that users in Tokyo and other major cities in the nation, including Nagoya and Osaka, will be able to experience 5G technology ahead of the full commercial launch, expected to take place next year.

The experimental 5G network service will be available at competition venues for the Rugby World Cup, which kicks off on Friday, and other locations across Japan.

“We are marking Friday as the day we begin our full-fledged 5G services,” NTT Docomo President Kazuhiro Yoshizawa reportedly said.

DoCoMo said that the trial service at Tokyo Stadium in Chofu, Tokyo, will use the base station setup and frequency band for the planned full commercial service. The stadium is set to host the first match of the tournament, in which Japan will play against Russia.

In a previous conference call with investors, Yoshizawa  said that the company aims to launch commercial 5G services across Japan by mid-2020.

In July, Japanese companies NEC Corporation and Fujitsu said they had started to deliver 5G equipment for NTT DoCoMo’s 5G deployment.

NTT DoCoMo also announced that in collaboration with Fujitsu Limited, NEC Corporation and Nokia, it has successfully achieved multi-vendor interoperability across a variety of 4G and 5G base station equipment compatible with the international standards of the Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) Alliance.

“In the 4G and 5G base station equipment being deployed in DoCoMo’s pre-commercial 5G service, O-RAN fronthaul specifications are used to establish the connections between centralized units hosting baseband processing and remote units hosting radio processing in 5G remote-installed base stations. O-RAN X2 profile specifications are used to establish the connection between 4G base stations and 5G base station centralized units,” the carrier said in a release.

O-RAN fronthaul interface specifications provide a foundation for interoperability between centralized units and remote units of 5G remote-installed base stations manufactured by diverse partners, DoCoMo added.

“The O-RAN X2 profile specifications provide a foundation for interoperability between 4G base stations and 5G base stations manufactured by diverse partners in 5G non-standalone (5G NSA) networks by taking 3GPP X2 interface specifications and specifying detailed standards for their usage. 5G NSA networks connect devices using both 4G and 5G technologies. The connection of 4G and 5G base stations makes it possible to combine the high-speed, low-latency data communications delivered by 5G technology with the comprehensive coverage of 4G networks.”

“The ability to deploy and interconnect base station equipment from different vendors will make it possible to select the equipment most suitable for deployment in any given environment, such as base stations offering broad coverage in rural areas or small base stations that can be deployed in urban areas where space is limited. This will in turn allow more rapid and flexible expansion of 5G coverage,” the telco added.

NTT DoCoMo said it plans to expand 5G coverage by combining 5G networks with existing 4G networks using equipment from diverse vendors.


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