China’s Huawei and Japanese mobile network operator (MNO) NTT DOCOMO have conducted a wide-scale field trial of 5G technology on the C band in Japan, the former has confirmed via a release on its website. After announcing their 5G NR joint trials in March 2018, the two companies are continuing verification trials of the next generation 5G NR technologies, developing a macro cell that comprises a C band base station with 200MHz bandwidth, Massive MIMO and f-OFDM. Trials were carried out at the Yokohama media tower – one of the largest commercial areas in Japan – and according to the tests achieved average user throughput of 11.29Gbps with 24 layers. Meanwhile peak spectrum efficiency was reported at ’79.82bps per hertz, per cell’, with a <0.5ms latency. The pair say the results are an important step toward establishing the foundation of 5G in Japan.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in June this year NTT DOCOMO confirmed plans to launch 5G technology ‘within 800 days’. Speaking at MWC Shanghai 2018, Lan Chen, president and CEO of DOCOMO Beijing Labs, said that the carrier aims to build out a non-standalone 5G system based on trials undertaken in 2017, adding that it expects spectrum to be allocated by end-March 2019. ‘Since the standardisation is set, it’s time to consider how to deploy a 5G network. We need to strategically deploy 5G in the necessary areas, with the necessary functions and with adequate frequencies,’ she was quoted at the time as saying.

NTT DOCOMO has previously announced its intentions to launch a commercial 5G service in 2020, ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Ms Chen notes that DOCOMO is starting to transform its business to meet the challenges presented by the ever-rising demand for data and a need to handle new business cases across a diverse range of industries. DOCOMO is looking to shift from being ‘a global communications company into a value co-creation company by collaborating with partners across a wide range of industry verticals,’ she said. In February 2018, the carrier launched its 5G Open Partners Programme, with more than 1,400 companies already joining the initiative, Chen noted.