Rivals NTT DoCoMo and KDDI have both yet to announce their launch dates for 5G, expected this spring

The 27th of March will see the launch of Japan’s first commercial 5G network, promising such treats as streaming multicamera sporting events and cloud-based games.
The company’s initial 5G coverage, however, will be limited. Only certain areas in Tokyo, Chiba, Osaka, Ishikawa, Aichi, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka prefectures will have access to the network. While SoftBank ultimately has goals of installing 10,000 base stations by the end of March in 2023, right now 5G will be starting small.
Despite this, SoftBank is expecting rapid acceleration of national 5G coverage, suggesting that 90% of the Japanese population will have access to the new technology by the end of 2021. Part of this rapid 5G deployment depends on the government allowing some 4G frequencies to be shifted to 5G, allowing operators like SoftBank to make efficient use of its existing base station infrastructure. This process will reportedly begin in summer this year.
When it comes to rivals NTT DoCoMo and KDDI, both have yet to announce the launch dates for their commercial 5G networks but are expected to follow later this spring.
Newcomer Rakuten is set to burst onto the scene with its 4G network later in April, pushing an aggressively cheap pricing plan that could rattle the three Japanese incumbents. As a new kid on the block, Rakuten will not be achieving a commercial launch of 5G until the summer, but the other Japanese operators are sure to be wary that the e-commerce giant will be thinking of a similar shock-and-awe billing strategy for the new technology, especially if its 4G launch proves a great succcess.
Also in the news: