Samsung Kicks Off KDDI’s 5G Network Rollout On 700 MHz


By Juan Pedro Tomás

Korean vendor Samsung Electronics has announced it has brought its 700MHz services on air for Japanese carrier KDDI’s commercial launch of 5G.

The use of 700 MHz spectrum in this rollout is designed to enhance KDDI’s 5G network coverage, improving indoor and outdoor mobile services, and provide 5G connectivity to users.

This low-band 5G network represents a new addition to KDDI’s existing 5G services, which already support the mid-band and mmWave spectrums.

For the rollout, KDDI selected Samsung’s 5G solutions, including its 700 MHz radio and its next-generation indoor and outdoor baseband units.

 “With the support of leading vendors like Samsung, we hope to continue expanding our 5G service areas with the goal of reaching 90 per cent population coverage by early next year. We look forward to bringing improved 5G experience to more users,” said Executive Officer, Chief Director of Mobile Technology at KDDI, Toshikazu Yokai.

“Samsung is delighted to take part in KDDI’s launch of 700 MHz 5G, and in delivering enhanced user experience to millions of customers in Japan. We are proud to contribute to Japan’s 5G expansion,” said SVP and Head of Software R&D, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics, Sohyong Chong.

KDDI had launched 5G commercial services in March 2020. The initial launch covered only a limited area of Japan, but by 2025, the company plans to invest over US$4 billion to expand its network to roughly 93 per cent of the populated areas of the country, as well as install 30,107 base stations in the 3.7 GHz and 4.5 GHz spectrum bands and 12,756 base stations in the 28 GHz band.

The carrier has selected Ericsson’s cloud-native dual-mode 5G core to launch standalone 5G services after having worked with the Swedish vendor in the area of 5G for years. In February 2020, the pair achieved a cloud-native 5G Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipeline “breakthrough.”

In December 2020, Japanese company Fujitsu had announced that its O-RAN-compatible 5G radio unit had been selected by KDDI for the construction of virtualized base stations for 5G commercial services in Japan.

The base stations will be delivered in the second half of fiscal year 2021, Fujitsu said.

The newly developed 5G Radio Unit uses O-RAN standard specifications for the fronthaul interface for communication with base station controllers. This makes it possible to establish a flexible network with an O-RAN configuration by connecting base station controllers between different vendors that comply with this specification.

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