The Japanese government continues its support for the development of network technology, pushing together with local companies in trying to make 5G (5th generation) mobile bandwith available by the year 2020 – which is, incidentally, the year the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games roll in – way before other countries do.
Long Term Evolution – or more popularly, LTE – has been more or less the standard in Japanese mobile networks, growing in popularity and usage since it was launched in 2010. LTE is technically not 4G, as misrepresented in most marketing ploys – it is 3.9G, with a standard bandwidth of around 70 to 80 Megabits per second. With 5G technology, Japan is looking at speeds of 10 Gigabits per second. For comparison, if you think your LTE connection is fast enough, imagine speeds 100 faster than your current LTE. This kind of connection is of course primed for higher densities of content, like 4K videos. We might not be seeing a lot of 4K-resolution videos at the moment – and there are not a lot of screens, whether TV or mobile gadgets, that can handle 4K video – but Japan is looking at 4K and even 8K video to be developed in the near future. For those kinds of high density content, 5G connections will be almost essential.
With this in mind, Japan’s Ministry of Communications plans to give the private sector impetus for developing 5G network technology faster than other countries. The ministry is planning to take this proposal to Japan’s three big mobile carriers this year – that is, NTT Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank – as well as smaller communications companies and manufacturers of cellular phone technology and network hardware, the likes of Panasonic, Sharp and Fujitsu. It is understood that the ministry will be looking for government support for funding the development of 5G technology. The Japanese government is even hoping to pull in the considerable abilities of Japanese universities to make sure Japan is way ahead of rivals in Europe and South Korea in this endeavor.
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