NTT Docomo, KDDI, SoftBank and Rakuten receive 5G spectrum

Japan’s telecoms ministry has allocated 5G spectrum to NTT Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank – along with new entrant Rakuten.
5G spectrum bands in countriesJapan is lagging other countries such as South Korea and the United States that have already begun rolling out 5G services.

5G connections in Asia Pacific will reach 10 million in 2020, 74 million in 2021, 187 million in 2022, 339 million in 2023, 526 million in 2024 and 669 million in 2025, according to GSMA forecast.

GSMA says the 5G network coverage in the Asia Pacific region will grow to 12 percent of the population in 2020, 21 percent in 2021, 26 percent in 2022, 27 percent in 2023, 30 percent in 2024 and 33 percent in 2025.

Japan’s telecoms ministry ensured that telecom operators need to take cybersecurity measures including responding to supply chain risk.

The condition effectively prevents the telecom providers from using network equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE, and follows a de facto ban implemented last year on Japanese government purchases from the manufacturers, Reuters reported.

Huawei and ZTE are under scrutiny from Washington over their ties to China government, driven by concerns they could be used by Beijing for spying.

The four Japanese telcos will cumulatively spend just under 1.7 trillion yen ($15.29 billion) over five years building their networks. That is seen as a conservative estimate likely to rise over time.

The financial burden on the telecoms comes as they face government pressure to lower carrier fees, with the start of 4G services by Rakuten in October expected to increase price competition.