SoftBank, KDDI expand collaboration to build 5G networks – RCR Wireless News

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SoftBank and KDDI will aim to jointly build out a total of 100,000 base stations each by the fiscal year 2030

Japanese telecom operators SoftBank and KDDI Corporation said they have agreed to start discussions to potentially expand the scope of their ongoing collaborative initiative for jointly building 5G networks in Japan through their joint venture 5G JAPAN Corporation, the former said in a statement.

Specifically, the carriers said they would consider expanding applicable coverage areas from rural areas to areas nationwide and to explore the mutual utilization of 4G base station assets, in addition to the current scope of 5G assets, among other initiatives.

By expanding the scope of their collaboration, SoftBank and KDDI will aim to jointly build out a total of 100,000 base stations each by the fiscal year 2030, ending March 31, 2031, and achieve total capital expenditure cost reductions of JPY120 billion ($771 million), respectively.

“SoftBank and KDDI are aiming to enhance Japan’s international competitiveness by establishing 5G networks that empower all industries, thereby contributing to its industrial development, regional revitalization, and national resilience. As part of this initiative, both companies established a joint venture, 5G JAPAN, on April 1, 2020,” SoftBank said.

“Through infrastructure sharing and the mutual utilization of base station assets owned by both companies, SoftBank and KDDI have been collaborating to accelerate the adoption of 5G networks in rural areas that are grappling with the digital divide. Through 5G JAPAN, SoftBank and KDDI have jointly built out over 5G 38,000 base stations each, resulting in capital expenditure cost reductions of 45.0 billion yen for each company,” the carrier added.

In addition to expanding network coverage areas and technologies, both telcos also plan to explore standardizing construction specifications, such as those used for building 5G and 4G base stations, and the joint procurement of equipment. They will also aim to start various technology discussions and trials during fiscal year 2024, with the goal of fully expanding their collaboration scope from fiscal year 2026.

“SoftBank, KDDI, and 5G JAPAN will continue to strengthen their cooperation and advance initiatives that enhance Japan’s resilience and improve its international competitiveness. As comprehensive telecommunication service providers, SoftBank and KDDI are committed to ensuring the provision of stable communication services to the greatest possible extent. Both are working to establish mechanisms that enable swift recoveries in the event of communication outages and disasters, with the aim of restoring communication services as quickly as possible,” SoftBank said.

SoftBank and KDDI have been cooperating in providing mutual backup services during communication outages and disasters, and going forward they said that they will also consider collaborating on network resilience measures that enable rapid restoration of disrupted communication services.

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