Japan to carry out 5G O-RAN tests in 2022: report

Japan is expected to establish an experimental network with a wide area as early as 2022 to experiment with 5G O-RAN networks, the Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported.

According to the report, the initiative will be led by the Ministry of Interior and Communications and Japan’s leading communications companies. NTT Docomo, Rakuten Mobile and NEC are expected to be included in the tests.

Japanese regulators believe Open RAN will lower costs and make Japanese companies more competitive with Chinese suppliers.

As part of the initiative, the Japanese government is designating Yokosuka Research Park in Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo as a test site for Docomo and Rakuten to conduct O-RAN tests, according to Nikkei.

According to the ministry, Japan’s four largest telecommunications companies will be able to roll out 5G base stations across the country by April 2024.

The Japanese operator NTT Docomo and compatriot supplier NEC Corporation have recently completed interoperability tests for 5G Standalone (SA) using a 5G base station baseband device (5G CU / DU) that complies with O-RAN open interface specifications and radio devices (RU) ‘er) from different suppliers.

NEC said the multi-vendor interoperability test used a software upgrade to introduce SA capability to NEC’s 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) CU / DU operating on NTT Docomo’s commercial network.

Going forward, the two companies aim to introduce 5G CU / DU for NTT Docomos SA services to further expand their 5G services.

The NEC also noted that the SA system enables network operators to provide services that take advantage of 5G features such as eMBB (Enhanced Mobile Broadband), mMTC (Massive Machine Type Communication) and URLLC (Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications). ).

Earlier this year, NTT Docomo selected Samsung as the provider of 5G networking solutions. Samsung will specifically support the operator’s next phase of its Open RAN development.

In 2018, NTT DoCoMo, together with AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom and Orange, announced the creation of the ORAN Alliance with the aim of promoting new levels of openness in the radio access network for next-generation wireless systems.

So, in February, the carrier took an extra step in its commitment to establish an Open RAN ecosystem, as it agreed to partner with 12 companies to move towards a “5G Open RAN Ecosystem”, with the aim of accelerating open radio access networks globally.

Meanwhile, Rakuten Mobile has previously signed two different agreements with compatriots Fujitsu and NEC to make joint efforts to develop and promote Open RAN solutions for the global market.

Rakuten Mobile and Fujitsu said they will collaborate to jointly develop 4G and 5G Open RAN solutions. Fujitsu will develop new O-RAN-based 4G and 5G radio devices, which Rakuten Mobile will integrate into its Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP) offering with the aim of expanding into the global market.

The companies noted that the MoU will allow them to define common global go-to-market plans to meet the current and future needs of 4G and 5G Open RAN customers worldwide.

Rakuten also announced a MoU with the Japanese company NEC, through which both companies aim to promote Open RAN technology globally.


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