YOU ARE AT:5GSoftBank launches 5G Standalone services in Japan

SoftBank launches 5G Standalone services in Japan

Japanese operator SoftBank announced that it has started to offer 5G Standalone services in conjunction with the sale of its new 5G-compatible SoftBank Air terminal, called “Air Terminal 5”.

With this new launch, SoftBank claims to be the first carrier in Japan to offer 5G SA commercial services.

“5G SA delivers ultra-high-speed, ultra-low latency and massive device connectivity that is difficult to realize in previous generations of mobile networks. Unlike 5G Non-Standalone (5G NSA) services, which employ a system structure that couples legacy 4G core network equipment with 5G base stations, 5G SA uses leading-edge technology that combines new 5G-dedicated core network equipment with 5G base stations,” SoftBank said in a release.

The Asian carrier noted that the most important features of 5G SA networks are their ability to deliver network slicing and Private 5G networks, which are customized networks tailored to individual enterprise needs, and other connectivity features based on advanced technologies.

Starting with the introduction of Air Terminal, SoftBank said it plans to phase in additional services that take advantage of 5G SA’s features. “Furthermore, through the SoftBank 5G Consortium—an assembly of businesses entities from a variety of sectors, 5G-affiliated partners and outside experts—SoftBank will work to support advanced healthcare, automated driving and other next-generation societal infrastructure with high-quality connectivity services afforded by the ultra-high-speed, ultra-low-latency and massive device connectivity features of 5G SA,” the telco said.

SoftBank had initially launched comercial 5G services in Japan through NSA architecture in March 2020.

Earlier this month, SoftBank and rival operator KDDI selected Nokia as one of the vendors to deploy Japan’s shared Radio Access Network.

The Finnish vendor noted that this deployment will deliver 5G services to both SoftBank and KDDI subscribers in the Asian country. As part of the project, Nokia will install a Multi-Operator Radio Access Network (MORAN), which will allow both companies to share the RAN while keeping core networks separate.

Under the deal, Nokia will supply its latest AirScale products including baseband and radio platforms.

The vendor also highlighted that its MORAN is triple-mode and covers LTE and 5G as well as Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) technologies. In particular, Nokia will provide its new generation of ReefShark System-on-Chip based plug-in cards to increase the capacity of the AirScale baseband. Nokia’s modular AirScale baseband will enable SoftBank and KDDI to scale capacity flexibly and efficiently and as their 5G business evolves, the vendor said.

Last year, SoftBank and KDDI had announced that they established a joint venture to promote the deployment of 5G in rural areas across Japan. The joint venture, dubbed 5G JAPAN Corporation (5G JAPAN), is based on a previous agreement announced by the two carriers in July 2019.

5G JAPAN will promote infrastructure sharing based on the mutual use of base station assets held by SoftBank and KDDI to accelerate the rollout of 5G networks in rural Japan. The joint venture will also conduct construction design and construction management work for 5G base stations.

Each carrier owns a 50% stake at the new joint venture.


Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro covers Global Carriers and Global Enterprise IoT. Prior to RCR, Juan Pedro worked for Business News Americas, covering telecoms and IT news in the Latin American markets. He also worked for Telecompaper as their Regional Editor for Latin America and Asia/Pacific. Juan Pedro has also contributed to Latin Trade magazine as the publication's correspondent in Argentina and with political risk consultancy firm Exclusive Analysis, writing reports and providing political and economic information from certain Latin American markets. He has a degree in International Relations and a master in Journalism and is married with two kids.

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