Japanese operator partners with Ericsson on indoor, outdoor mmWave tests.

Japan-based Softbank this week announced it has commenced indoor and outdoor millimetre-wave (mmWave) 5G trials, having recently secured an experimental licence for a 732 MHz chunk of 28-GHz spectrum.

The trials, which are taking place in Tokyo Waterfront City, are part of the operator’s 5G Project, which kicked off in September 2016, and also covers trials of 5G tech running on 4-GHz and 4.5-GHz spectrum.

"The trials will evaluate the characteristics of radio wave propagation on the 4 GHz, 4.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands respectively. They will be conducted in indoor and outdoor environments using trial equipment mounted with 5G technology elements to verify massive MIMO (multiple input, multiple output), new air interfaces, and other aspects, with a view to testing for 5G specification targets: ultra-speed broadband communications exceeding 10 Gbps, ultra-low latency under 1 ms, among others," Softbank said, in a statement on Thursday.

For the 28 GHz trials, Softbank is again using hardware supplied by Ericsson. In this case, the Swedish kit maker is providing a mmWave 5G test bed solution, which includes base stations and device prototypes.

"Since we announced that we would start the joint 5G trial with Softbank in Tokyo in 2015, we have together achieved several significant milestones to date," said Mikael Eriksson, head of Ericsson Japan.

Through the accumulation of know-how, Softbank said it aims to launch commercial 5G services in around 2020.

"I am confident that we will be the first to deliver 5G services and that we will deliver the best performing end-to-end network in Japan," added Eriksson.