With the arrival of the Rugby World Cup in 2019, Japan is eager to be early to market with its 5G network offering

Japan’s mobile network operators have confirmed that they expect to rollout initial commercial 5G services in 2019, a year ahead of their previously announced schedules. Representatives from NTT Docomo, Softbank and KDDI confirmed to a communications ministry hearing that they will begin limited commercial deployment in 2019 and then rollout full 5G services in 2020.

NTT Docomo was recently confirmed as the official telecoms supplier for the Rugby World Cup 2019, with some analysts speculating that they could use the event to showcase it 5G network readiness.

"It will be an honour for DOCOMO to participate as a Tournament Supplier in Asia’s first-ever Rugby World Cup," said Kazuhiro Yoshizawa, President and CEO of NTT DOCOMO.

"Through our corporate rugby team, NTT DOCOMO Red Hurricanes, DOCOMO has been active in supporting the popularisation of rugby as well as the promotion of regional sports. In sponsoring Rugby World Cup 2019, we hope to enhance the value and excitement of watching sports supported by DOCOMO’s highly advanced, world-class mobile communication technologies."

All 3 of Japan’s MNOs have been heavily involved in 5G testing across the country, forging partnerships with international tech giants such as Nokia, Huawei and Ericsson.

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