This is Japan’s attempt to increase economic security in the face of the growing presence of Chinese equipment makers. The initiative will be led by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan and leading domestic media companies. Three telecommunications service providers NTT Docomo, Rakuten Mobile and NEC are expected to be included in the plan implementation list.
Typically, base station equipment will be provided by a single equipment manufacturer. There are only a handful of companies that lead the field, and much of the global market is now controlled by Huawei Technologies, Ericsson and Nokia. So far, there is little room for Japanese companies to compete because existing base stations already have manufacturers’ specifications built into them.
|Japan believes that Open RAN will reduce costs and increase the competitiveness of domestic companies against Chinese rivals.
screenshot Nikkei/AP and KDDI/Jiji
Open RAN (open radio access network) is a collaboration between equipment manufacturers and telecommunications companies in various working groups to solve the problem of interoperability, by creating general standard. The Japanese regulator believes that Open RAN will reduce costs and increase the competitiveness of domestic companies against their Chinese rivals.
The Japanese government is designating the Yokosuka Research Park (YRP) in Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo as a test area for Docomo and Rakuten to conduct 5G Open RAN network tests. The two companies will evaluate the connectivity and security of base stations developed by different groups. According to Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the four leading telecommunications carriers in the country will be ready to deploy 5G base stations nationwide by April 2024.
According to Nikkei, there is growing concern about the security of communication infrastructure between countries. Concerned about the possibility of data leakage to China, the US has been wary of Chinese-made equipment in general and sanctioned telecommunications company Huawei Technologies. Germany’s Deutsche Telekom and France’s Orange are leading the way in Open RAN implementation in Europe, but Chinese companies are also working hard to get there.
Japan wants to strengthen cooperation with the US and the rest of the Diamond Quartet (Quad). The two sides pledged to accelerate Open RAN in a joint statement at the US-Japan summit in April 2021 and the Quad leaders summit in September 2021, including Australia and India.
Japan is also promoting cooperation with Western telecom manufacturers. Docomo, Rakuten Mobile, NEC, Fujitsu and others are preparing technical applications for the O-RAN Alliance, the international organization promoting Open RAN made up of many telecommunications companies and universities. research universities in Europe and America.