Japan’s NTT DOCOMO used the forum of the LTE World Summit 2015 to announce more details of its planned 5G launch, starting from 2020, which it says will be delivered in two key phases – dubbed 5G and 5G+. Mobile World Live quotes Takehiro Nakamura, VP and director of RAN for the company, as saying that to meet the deadline its first-phase deployment will focus on enhancing its existing LTE 4G coverage alongside the development of some new radio access technologies, noting that: ‘In 2020 it will be very difficult to use the higher spectrum bands. So maybe below 6GHz is the main target.’ Nakamura acknowledges that the timeline will be affected by the ‘availability of higher frequency spectrum assigned for mobile use’, decisions on which are unlikely to take place until after the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2019. The DOCOMO official points out that: ‘Below 6GHz there is a risk that we can’t use enough spectrum. If we cannot have enough spectrum, we have to consider use of the unlicensed band, with the ongoing discussion of LAA [licence assisted access technologies].’ Nevertheless, once new spectrum bands come on-stream after 2020 – what the cellco is labelling 5G+ – DOCOMO is confident it will be able to commercialise a ‘full package of 5G’ by 2022 or 2023.
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