An Introduction to Local 5G Networks in Japan: Why They Matter, Momentum, and Challenges

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Japan is a country where multiple trends including the need for industrial automation, process resiliency, and an ageing and retiring workforce in traditional sectors are aligned against a backdrop of a regulator environment that is actively pushing for spectrum liberalization and the understanding that public 5G networks will not be enough on their own to support the modernization and digitization of industries.

Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) started working in 2019 and eventually liberalized the 28.3–29.1GHz and 4.6-4.9GHz bands, thus providing different types of spectrum that can be used to serve different needs and use cases of enterprises. This has been a pioneering approach that is set to be followed by other regulatory bodies worldwide., providing different bands deliver clear advantages to enterprises. For instance, while the 28.3–29.1GHz band will be ideal to serve bandwidth-demanding use cases, the 4.6-4.9GHz band will be more suitable for use cases with larger coverage needs.

Local 5G is gaining momentum in Japan, particularly industries that have seen traction for local 5G include manufacturing, transport and logistics, energy, healthcare, and government.

The readiness and willingness of the market to grow can be seen in the high relevance of alliance and sales partnerships, which represent 27% of all activities as of the second quarter of 2021 and demonstrate how an advanced regulatory framework and vendor uptake is critical to drive the growth of the market.

Local 5G is delivering results to enterprises. In the Japanese market, local 5G is used to deliver improvement in efficiency and productivity as well as to meet the security and data management needs of enterprises.

Yet, there are still significant challenges that enterprises face when looking to start their local 5G journey. For instance, the network must be deployed in a way that does not cause interferences with adjacent frequencies. Understanding the right spectrum to be used can also be a dauting challenge and furthermore, prior to deploying the network, it is essential to gain the MIC approval. All these factors mean that enterprises will need a flexible solution that can be configured to meet the diverse needs and address the different challenges of this market.

As an enterprise, it is time to start your local 5G journey and ensure you can count on the right partners with hands-on experience in multiple verticals, with the right ecosystem partners – and the ability to manage it – and be able to help transform your business and stay competitive.

One solution targeting this market is QCT Enterprise 5G solution, which is an end-to-end in-house developed solution including OmniRAN (remote radio unit – RRU, fronthaul gateway – FHGW, baseband unit – BBU), 5G SA core – OmniCore, plus an operation administration, and management (OAM) software platform OmniView integrated with the hardware infrastructure powered by Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors. Key features of the solution include configurability and flexibility, ease of use and management, and security, availability, and redundancy.


Pablo Tomasi, Principal Analyst Private Networks

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