NTT DoCoMo taps NEC to upgrade existing base stations to 5G

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NEC has announced an agreement with NTT DoCoMo to provide control units for 5G base station equipment to help DoCoMo down the road to commercialization of 5G services.

NEC is slated to carry out development that enables existing communication equipment, such as high-density base station equipment, to be fully compatible with 5G. These developments will contribute to the provision of 5G services that DoCoMo aims to launch in 2020.

Currently, high-density base station equipment that NEC began providing in February 2015 is already compatible with the advanced centralized RAN (C-RAN) architecture advocated by DoCoMo, and is now being utilized as a base station control unit. The equipment has already been upgraded from LTE to LTE-Advanced via a software upgrade.

Under the new agreement announced Monday, NEC will upgrade existing high-density base station equipment to 5G via software upgrades and minimal replacement of hardware. The base stations will also continue to support LTE/LTE-A services so that the network meets a variety of service demands.

“DoCoMo aims to deploy and expand our commercial 5G services efficiently by maximizing the use of existing communications equipment,” said, Hiroshi Nakamura, executive VP, chief technology officer and member of the board of directors at NTT DoCoMo. “This agreement with NEC is in line with that policy and we expect it to make a significant contribution to our 5G services.”

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