Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo has selected compatriot company NEC Corporation to supply a 5G mobile core network (5GC) compatible with standalone (SA) 5G.
NTT DoCoMo aims to launch 5G services through a SA 5G architecture next year.
In addition to the 5GC, NEC will provide a compact user data processor, the “UPF mini”, as part of driving further development of NTT DoCoMo’s SA 5G, and meeting the diverse network needs of the 5G era, including support for 5G features such as enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC), and Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications (URLLC), NEC said.
The vendor also noted that SA 5GC enables the provision of sliced networks that are ideal for the various services that take advantage of 5G features, while also improving scalability.
NEC already provides NTT DoCoMo with core networking vEPC for LTE. The 5G service launched by the Japanese carrier in March 2020, uses an extension of this vEPC and operates as a Non-standalone (NSA) core network. NEC also provides base stations and 5G radio base stations for LTE.
“This 5GC allows us to build a 5G core network that can flexibly accommodate a wide variety of needs and use cases,” said Naoki Tani, Executive General Manager, R&D Innovation Division, at NTT DoCoMo. “Going forward, NTT DoCoMo will continue to provide state-of-the-art functions together with NEC and other partners in order to promote further advances in 5G networks.”
Atsuo Kawamura, EVP, Network Services Business Unit, at NEC, said: “We look forward to providing high-quality and reliable 5GC in addition to the core network devices and radios we have already provided for NTT DoCoMo’s 4G network. NEC will continue to support NTT DoCoMo’s expansion of 5G services and contributing to the further development of next-generation mobile infrastructure, both domestically and across global markets.”
NTT DoCoMo ended September with a total of 380,000 subscribers in the 5G segment, the company’s President and CEO Kazuhiro Yoshizawa said during a recent conference call with investors.
Yoshizawa said NTT DoCoMo’s had over 500,000 subscribers in the 5G segment by the end of October.
The company is maintaining its target of 2.5 million 5G subscribers at the end of the financial year ending March 30, 2021.
“We have rolled out the 5G service in 144 cities, and we have commenced the millimeter wave service in September. The year-end target which is the rollout to 500 cities, including all designated cities by the government, we believe we are making progress towards this end,” the executive said.
NTT DoCoMo previously said it expects to reach 10,000 5G sites by June 2021 and 20,000 by March 2022.
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