NTT DoCoMo 5G launch date is just days ahead of competitors

NTT Docomo said its 5G service will reach 500 cities by March 2021

Beginning March 25, Japanese mobile operator NTT Docomo will begin commercial 5G service in an initial 150 locations, and if that date is met, it will be the first to launch the next-gen technology in Japan.

According to the company, the network will continue to expand throughout June, ultimately reaching 500 cities by March 2021, and will have an initial maximum downlink data rate of 3.4 Gbps, followed by a speed of 4.1 Gbps expected in June. In addition, the uplink will start at a 182 Mbps peak, before increasing to 480 Mbps.

The highest tier of the plan will cost ¥5,480 per month, which is approximately $51, for 100GB of data. As far as devices go, NTT Docomo will offer customers the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G and Aquos R5G from the start, with the addition of the LG V60ThinQ, Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G and Xperia 1 in May.

NTT Docomo claimed it will have 10,000 base stations by the end of June 2021, and 20,000 by the end of March 2022.

Of course, NTT Docomo is not the only Japanese operator making 5G progress. SoftBank has a 5G launch date of March 27, putting it just days behind the NTT Docomo 5G launch. SoftBank stated that it will initially launch in Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima City, as well as some areas in the Chiba and Aichi prefectures.

And while it has yet to set a date, KDDI has also suggested that it will be launched commercial 5G services this month as well.

Even as the Japanese operators make significant 5G progress, it cannot be ignored that the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening 5G deployments. And yet, as of today, NTT Docomo said it still intends to provide 5G at “key venues” of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, which at this point, remains scheduled as planned.

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