Wednesday, 29 April 2020

NTT Docomo's Aggressive 5G Expansion Plan


Source: NTT Docomo

NTT Docomo, maybe the largest operator in Japan, however they recently announced a drop in profit and revenue for the past financial year but in response, detailed for the first time a plan to grow their 5G network. There 5G expansion plans are both aggressive and ambitious.

The operator, which launched 5G service last month, said it signed up 14,000 5G users at end-March and targets 2.5 million subs by March 2021 and 20 million three years later.


Coverage is forecast to increase from 500 base stations in 150 locations to 10,000 sites (in about 500 cities) by June 2021 and 20,000 by March 2022. Despite lagging behind the United States and South Korea, which introduced their versions in April last year, the new wireless service  available in the 150 locations in Japan covers 29 of the nation's 47 prefectures.

Their 5G plans for its next fiscal year ending 30 March 2021 include promoting Open RAN technology and deploying millimeter wave, as well as expanding the range of 5G smartphones, which stood at six devices at launch. It also mentioned pursuit of new experience and sensory services, e.g., music, gaming, video, sports, etc and value creation suited to remote‐work society  (medical / education / manufacturing, etc.)


Docomo's 5G plans for its next fiscal year ending 30 March 2021 include promoting O-RAN (see Open RAN terminology) technology and deploying mmWave, as well as expanding the range of 5G smartphones, which stood at six devices at launch.

Source: NTT Docomo

NTT Docomo has delivered Japan's fastest speeds for both downloads and uploads for the last two years. Operators in Japan have received an ideal amount of spectrum for 5G services. NTT Docomo 5G service is achieving a maximum data rate of 3.4 Gbps in downlink currently which is expected to increase to 4.1 Gbps in June. Of course these are theoretical maximum values and no individual user can expect to receive this.

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