The government of Japan expects 5G coverage to reach 99% of the population by the end of fiscal year 2030, the Japan Times reported.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced this goal at a government panel meeting to discuss his “digital garden city nation” initiative, aimed at revitalizing regional economies with the use of digital technologies.
According to the report, 5G coverage in the Asian nation stood below 40% as of the end of fiscal 2020.
Kishida also said his government will make fiber-optic communications networks available at 99.9% of households in Japan by the end of fiscal 2027.
Also, panel members agreed to encourage several companies to work together to set up 5G and fiber-optic networks in less-populated areas where private carriers do not provide coverage.
Local TV channel NHK World recently reported that the government’s plan was to cover 95% of the Japanese population by March 2024.
Mobile carriers in Japan have prioritized expanding their networks in urban areas since the launch of 5G in 2020, but only 30% of the population has access to the new technology.
According to the report, the Japanese government aims to assign additional 5G frequencies to the carriers to boost 5G coverage. The government also plans to offer subsidies for installing base stations in mountainous areas and on remote islands in Japan.
Japanese carrier NTT Docomo recently said it expected to accelerate the pace of its 5G expansion in the country, as rival operators are also quickly rolling out 5G across Japan. NTT Docomo aims to offer coverage to 90% of the Japanese population by March 2024, which is up from its previous goal of 80%.
Rival telecommunications provider KDDI said it will likely achieve 90% coverage by the early part of the fiscal year that starts in April, while SoftBank says it will reach the mark this coming spring.
NTT Docomo initially launched 5G services in Japan in 2020.
In 2021, NTT Docomo had selected Korean vendor Samsung as a 5G network solution provider. Samsung will specifically support the carrier’s next phase of its Open RAN development.
Also in 2021, NTT Docomo and JTower announced that they have formed a capital and business alliance with the aim of strengthening collaboration in the field of infrastructure sharing.
As part of the alliance, Docomo plans to acquire part of JTower shares held by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) and become a shareholder with 2.5% voting rights in the future.
NTT Docomo started using the JTower’s infra-sharing solution for its 4G network in 2016 and has expanded the use of the solution nationwide. Furthermore, from October 2020, the company started using 5G IBS at the time JTower installed 5G IBS in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government as the first 5G infra-sharing solution in Japan, and also began using smart poles in the Nishi-Shinjuku area of Tokyo.