Japan’s telecom regulator allocates 5G spectrum for telecos

4 Japanese carriers, including NTT Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank Corp, and Rakuten Inc, have been allocated 5G spectrum. They will be investing a total of around $15.29 billion, a conservative figure, spread across 5 years to build their 5G networks.

In a significant development that marks the a milestone in the impending launch of high-speed wireless services in the spring of 2020, Japan’s telecom regulator has formally allocated 5G spectrum for telecos.

The three big carriers, NTT Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank Corp, along with new entrant Rakuten Inc, have received spectrum from the telecoms ministry.

5G, a technology which can provide data speeds at least 200% faster than 4G, is seen as essential for emerging technologies, including self-driving cars to augmented reality and artificial intelligence.

Other countries, such as South Korea and the United States, have already begun rolling out 5G services.

One of the conditions from the telecoms ministry was to “take sufficient cybersecurity measures including responding to supply chain risk”.

This condition essentially caps the ability of telecom providers to use network equipment sourced from China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp.

Embattled Huawei and ZTE have come under intense scrutiny from governments across the globe for their ties to the Chinese government. Intelligence agencies have raised concerns that they could be used by Beijing for espionage purposes.

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

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