NTT DoComo to offer 5G in 45 Japanese prefectures by June 2020: CEO

Planned launch follows pre-commercial 5G availability

Japanese telecommunications company NTT DoCoMo plans to expand its 5G commercial services service to 45 prefectures across the country by end-June 2020, the company’s President and CEO, Kazuhiro Yoshizawa, told a conference call with investors.

The executive also said it expects to deploy 10,000 5G base stations by mid-2021. The operator is currently rolling out 5G services on the 3.7GHz, 4.5GHz and 28GHz bands.

NTT DoComo had launched pre-commercial 5G services in 40 locations on 20 September. Since that date, users in Tokyo and other major cities in the nation, including Nagoya and Osaka, are able to experience 5G technology ahead of the full commercial launch.

“Going forward, we are preparing using 5G initiatives in various events such as Tokyo International Film Festival. And we’re going to be creating various 5G services solutions, so that we can provide commercial services next spring,” Yoshizawa added.

The executive also said that a total of 10,000 engineers are currently working to deploy NTT DoCoMo’s nationwide 5G network infrastructure.

In July, Japanese companies NEC Corporation and Fujitsu said they had started to deliver 5G equipment for NTT DoCoMo’s 5G deployment.

NTT DoCoMo had also previously announced that in collaboration with Fujitsu Limited, NEC Corporation and Nokia, it has successfully achieved multi-vendor interoperability across a variety of 4G and 5G base station equipment compatible with the international standards of the Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) Alliance.

NTT DoCoMo said it plans to expand 5G coverage by combining 5G networks with existing 4G networks using equipment from diverse vendors.

The company’s net profit for the April to September period reached JPY372 billion ($3.42 billion), a decline by 8.5% year-on-year. Total operating revenue fell 2.5% to JPY2.33 trillion, with revenues from mobile services declining 2.6% to JPY1.4 trillion.

For the full fiscal year ending 31 March 2020,NTT DoCoMo forecasts mobile revenue to decline by 4.3% from the previous year to JPY2.72 trillion and operating profit to decrease 18% to JPY830 billion.

The carrier ended September with a total of 79.2 million mobile subscribers, up 2.8% year-on-year but ARPU dropped 3% to JPY5,140. LTE penetration reached 74% at end-September, up from 68% at end-September 2018.

Capex for the first six months of the fiscal year was down 14.5% to JPY218 billion. The telco said it expects total capex for the full fiscal year to decline by 4% year-on-year to JPY570 billion.



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