SoftBank launches 5G Project in Japan
SoftBank will initially offer Massive MIMO technology in 43 cities across Japan
Japanese telecommunications operator SoftBank officially launched its “5G Project”, local press reported, and will initially launch commercial Massive MIMO technology to enhance network capacity.
SoftBank said that it will launch commercial services through 100 base stations in 43 cities across the country from September 16. Nearly 30% to 40% of these base stations will be deployed in downtown areas of capital Tokyo.
Hidebumi Kitahara, director of the Network Planning Department of SoftBank’s Mobile Technology Division, said that tests at four locations in the downtown areas of Tokyo showed that massive MIMO increased the communications speed by 6.7 times on average.
According to the press reports, Chinese vendors ZTE and Huawei may be the providers of the massive MIMO base stations for SoftBank’s new launch.
Kitahara also said massive MIMO technology will be released as an integral part of the “5G Project.” Aiming for 5G commercialization in 2020, the “5G Project” focuses on four improvements of SoftBank’s networks: large capacity, enhanced multi-user shared access (MUSA ), high-speed communications, and low delay.
In July 2015, SoftBank had signed a memorandum of understanding with ZTE to collaborate on research and development on pre 5G mobile communications networks technology. Under the terms of this agreement, both firms agreed to cooperate on R&D, evaluation and verification of mobile communications solutions based on ZTE’s Pre5G technology, including massive MIMO. The two companies had previously inked cooperation agreement to explore other technologies including ultra-dense networks (UDN) and MUSA.
Also in 2015, SoftBank and Huawei had signed an agreement to cooperate on the development of TDD+, a 4.5G technology based on LTE-TDD.
SoftBank ended June 2016 with 32.1 million mobile subscribers in the country. SoftBank offers TDD-LTE and FDD-LTE services across Japan, launching the networks in 2012.
APT selects Ericsson for 4G deployment in Taiwan
In other APAC news, Taiwanese operator Asia Pacific Telecom (APT) selected Swedish vendor Ericsson to provide equipment and services to develop its nationwide 4G LTE network. The deal includes LTE RAN, Evolved Packet Core equipment and services such as network rollout, network design and optimization, integration and training.
“With the introduction of 4G/LTE and continuous optimizations of APT’s networks, customers will experience superior voice quality and faster speeds on their smartphones,” Ericsson Taiwan’s head Hakan Cervell said.