5G Frequency Spectrum in Japan

What frequency bands have been allocated to 5G in Japan?

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Editorial Team - everything RF

Jul 22, 2020

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in Japan held the 5G spectrum auction in April 2019. The country’s telecom operators acquired spectrum in the 3.7 GHz, 4.5 GHz and 28 GHz (n78, n77, n79 and n257) bands.

5G Frequency Bands in Japan

BandFrequencyAuction StatusOperator
n783.6 - 3.7 GHzAuctioned (2019)NTT Docomo
n783.7 - 3.8 GHzAuctioned (2019)KDDI
n773.8 - 3.9 GHzAuctioned (2019)Rakuten
n773.9 - 4 GHzAuctioned (2019)Softbank
n774 - 4.1 GHzAuctioned (2019)KDDI
n794.5 - 4.6 GHzAuctioned (2019)NTT Docomo
n25727 - 27.4 GHzAuctioned (2019)Rakuten
n25727.4 - 27.8 GHzAuctioned (2019)NTT Docomo
n25727.8 - 28.2 GHzAuctioned (2019)KDDI
n25728.3 - 29.1 GHzUpcoming-
n25729.1 - 29.5 GHzAuctioned (2019)Softbank

5G service is provided by four telecom operators in Japan: NTT Docomo, KDDI, Rakuten and Softbank.

All four operators were targeting to rollout their 5G services in time for the 2020 Olympics but the games got postponed due to COVID-19. However, the operators have started rolling out 5G services in Tokyo and other major cities from the second quarter of 2020.

KDDI successfully completed Standalone (SA) 5G network trial in February 2020 in partnership with Nokia. Rakuten partnered with NEC in June 2020 to develop a Japan-made Standalone (SA) 5G network and is expected to be launched commercially in 2021.

By 2024, NTT Docomo and KDDI target to have more than 90% 5G coverage nationwide. In the same time frame, Softbank targets more than 60% and Rakuten targets more than 55% 5G coverage across Japan.

In June 2020, Bloomberg tested NTT Docomo 5G network quality in Tokyo. At two locations in the city, 5G was strong inside the Docomo shop but the quality dropped a short distance away from it. The test was done using a Samsung Galaxy S20 smartphone and Netflix’s ‘Fast’ speed test app.

Tokyo’s two main airports, Olympics facilities and Tokyo Sky Tree have 5G coverage. NTT Docomo revealed that 5G coverage will be further expanded in two waves which are expected to take place in July and October 2020.

Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has stated it would consider allocation of spectrum from 28.3–29.1 GHz for local private services in the future.