Japan-based KDDI accelerated its 5G rollout to reach coverage requirements mandated by the government, tapping 700MHz spectrum to complement a network running on the 3.7GHz and 28GHz bands.

In a statement, Samsung said KDDI selected its 700MHz radio, and indoor and outdoor baseband units. The vendor already supplies its mid-band and mmWave equipment.

KDDI previously stated it would launch 5G service using the 700MHz band in major urban areas, with coverage planned around all train stations.

Toshikazu Yokai, executive officer, chief director of Mobile Technology at KDDI, said the operator aimed to reach “90 per cent population coverage” with its 5G network by early 2022.

Marc Einstein, chief analyst at Japan-based research company ITR, told Mobile World Live KDDI is using refarmed low band 4G spectrum to quickly hit the population coverage targets and will use the higher bands for better quality in urban areas.

“It makes sense for operators to pursue a multiband strategy to boost coverage quickly, especially given that low-cost 5G plans have just become available online from all major players.”

On an earnings call in early February, executive director of KDDI’s corporate sector Shinichi Muramoto said aims to deploy 50,000 5G base stations by end-March 2022.

KDDI launched a commercial 5G service in March 2020.