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SoftBank announced on March 15 that it was granted an experimental license to conduct tests on the 28GHz frequency band, a candidate for 5G in Japan. SoftBank will commence indoor and outdoor trials in Tokyo Waterfront City (Daiba District) using the 28GHz band with a view to future commercial deployment.

SoftBank has already acquired experimental licenses to test on both the 4GHz and 4.5GHz bands, which are also frequency band candidates for 5G, and it began conducting 5G field trials in August 2016. By proceeding with trials on these candidate bands and on the newly added 28GHz candidate band, and through the accumulation of know-how to implement 5G, SoftBank aims to launch 5G commercial services around 2020.

In anticipation of future 5G deployment, SoftBank kicked off its 5G Project in September 2016 to be the first to bring the latest technologies to its customers, starting with the world's first commercial service using Massive MIMO technology, a key element for 5G. By utilizing insights gained from commercial services and conducting 5G trials, SoftBank aims to realize stable services in real commercial environments in time for its 5G commercial rollout planned for around 2020.

The trials will evaluate the characteristics of radio wave propagation on the 4GHz, 4.5GHz and 28GHz bands respectively. They will be conducted in indoor and outdoor environments using trial equipment mounted with 5G technology elements to verify Massive MIMO, new air interfaces and other aspects, with a view to testing for 5G specification targets: ultra-speed broadband communications exceeding 10Gbps, ultra-low latency communications under 1ms, among others.

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