Japanese operator NTT Docomo announced today (18 March) it will begin commercial 5G service in selected areas on 25 March, a date intended to make it the first to launch the next-generation technology in the country, pipping rival SoftBank Corp by two days.

In a statement, Docomo said initial coverage will reach about 150 locations nationwide and then expand to all prefectures by June. It said by March 2021 more than 500 cities are expected to have access to the service, which will deliver a maximum downlink data rate of 3.4Gb/s by June.

The largest operator in the country by subscribers said its lineup of 5G devices will include six smartphones from Samsung, LG Electronics, Sony, Fujitsu and Sharp, as well as a mobile Wi-Fi router.

Customers purchasing a 5G smartphone can choose between two data options: an unlimited data package for JPY4,480 ($41.80) a month and a 1GB plan for JPY1,980.

In early March, SoftBank outlined its 5G pricing strategy and said it plans to start offering 5G services on 27 March, initially in Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima City and the broader prefecture, and some areas in Chiba and Aichi prefectures.

KDDI also is expected to introduce commercial 5G service this month, but hasn’t set a date.