SoftBank acquires 28GHz licence for 5G trials

SoftBank has been granted an experimental licence to conduct 5G trials on the 28GHz frequency band in Japan.

The Japanese giant said it will use the license to conduct indoor and outdoor trials across the Tokyo Waterfront, with a view to future commercial deployment opportunities.

28GHz is one of the spectrum bands that has been earmarked for 5G deployments in Japan, with SoftBank aiming to deploy the technology commercially around 2020.

In August, SoftBank and Ericsson began conducting 5G field trials using both the 4GHz and 4.5GHz spectrum bands, both also potential bands for the next generation of mobile connectivity.

Hideyuki Tsukuda, SVP SoftBank Corp., said: "SoftBank started to verify 4.5GHz radio back in August 2016 and now 4.5GHz is becoming the leading candidate band for 5G services in Japan together with 28GHz.  

“We are leveraging Ericsson's Test Bed with 28GHz radio to validate a lot of advanced features at super low-latency and high throughput, which helps position us as a pioneer of 5G."

The tests will involve Ericsson’s mmWave 28GHz 5G Test Bed solution, which includes base stations and device prototypes.  It will demonstrate a number of 5G technologies including massive MIMO, beamforming, distributed MIMO, multi-user MIMO, and beam tracking.

The solution aims to offer multi-gigabit data rates and ultra-low latency rates, both key benefits that telcos are aiming to realise with 5G.

Mikael Eriksson, head of Ericsson Japan, says: "Since we announced that we would start the joint 5G trial with SoftBank in Tokyo in 2015, we have together achieved several significant milestones to date. I am confident that we will be the first to deliver 5G services and that we will deliver the best performing end to end network in Japan."