Japanese operators KDDI and SoftBank cemented a 5G network sharing agreement signed in 2019, by establishing a joint venture to oversee build-out of the technology in rural areas.

In a joint statement, the companies said the 50:50 joint venture 5G Japan would oversee “mutual use” of their existing base stations along with construction design and management of new sites.

The joint venture brings to fruition a deal signed in July 2019, when the companies said a combined business was one option they would consider to accelerate deployments. At time they explained joint trials were being readied in Asahikawa City in Hokkaido, Narita City in Chiba prefecture and Fukuyama City in Hiroshima prefecture.

On its newly inaugurated website, 5G Japan explained the higher frequency bands being used for the next-generation technology, including the 28GHz and 3.7GHz bands, required a long-term commitment to, and large investment in, infrastructure construction.

KDDI and SoftBank committed to “rapidly” construct 5G networks to serve all industries with the aim to raise “Japan’s international competitiveness by contributing to its industrial development, regional revitalisation and national resilience.”

Operators in Japan launched commercial 5G services over a three day period late last month.