Japan-based mobile operator NTT Docomo contracted NEC to upgrade its LTE equipment to be compatible with 5G technology, to minimise the replacement of existing high-density base station hardware as the operator launches its next generation service.
Under the agreement, NEC will provide control units for 5G base stations and implement software upgrades to make them 5G compatible. The company noted that after making the equipment compatible with 5G, the operator’s existing LTE and LTE-Advanced services will continue to be available using the equipment.
“Docomo aims to deploy and expand our commercial 5G services efficiently by maximising the use of existing communications equipment,” said Docomo CTO Hiroshi Nakamura.
The operator plans to to commercialise 5G services in 2020, in time for the Summer Olympics which will be held in Tokyo.
NEC started supplying high-density base station equipment supporting the advanced centralised radio access network (C-RAN) architecture to Docomo in 2015.
Atsuo Kawamura, NEC EVP, said: “Together, we are working to co-create ultra-high-speed and high-capacity services and use cases, including remote diagnosis and advanced security, that combine 5G with the latest ICT.”
NEC is just one company the Japanese operator is working with as it embarks on a major partnership strategy for the rollout of 5G. As well as other network vendors such as Nokia and Ericsson, Docomo is teaming up with businesses in vertical industries to drive development of new services.