Japan phone carriers hasten 5G tests ahead of 2020 launch

For next-generation 5G communications standards, Japan’s major mobile phone carriers have announced application examples to be launched next spring.

NTT Docomo Inc is conducting a 5G test service at the Rugby World Cup venues and other locations.


The services using 5G technology will be extended to the construction and medical fields.

Docomo’s test service is available at its four outlets in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, as well as at World Cup venues. The company lends a compatible device for free, providing users experiences unique to the 5G standard, such as being able to view images taken from multiple angles – close-ups of players or the panoramic view of an entire field – which are all shown simultaneously during sports broadcasts.

The test environment’s base stations and frequency bands are the same as for the full-scale service scheduled for next spring.

“It’s essentially a launch of 5G services,” Docomo president Kazuhiro Yoshizawa said at a press conference on September 18.

The 5G communication rate is 100 times faster than the current one, allowing users to download a two hour-movie in three seconds. The communication time lag is short. The 5G communication network also can be connected to more devices at the same time.

KDDI Corp, which operates the mobile phone company au – and SoftBank Corp are endeavouring to conduct demonstration tests on 5G cellular phones in preparation for the full-scale launch.


SoftBank cooperates with Taisei Corp to conduct demonstration tests on heavy construction equipment that can be operated automatically and remotely using 5G in order to offer the technology as a solution to a shortage of workers at construction sites.

KDDI has worked together with companies including Panasonic Corp to test a 5G network of security cameras at train platforms that can transmit high-definition video data for use in security and other applications.

With the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics set to take place next year, a growing demand is expected from both individuals and companies for the 5G system, which can transmit images and data at extremely high speeds and in large volumes.

Docomo and SoftBank have announced that they plan to install base stations necessary for the 5G service ahead of schedule. Rakuten Inc, which will fully enter the mobile phone business by next spring, also plans to launch a 5G service around June next year.