Japan’s government has approved plans by the country’s four mobile carriers to build 5G wireless networks with investment set to reach JPY 1.6 trillion ($14.4 billion) over the next five years, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

Applications submitted by NTT DoCoMo, KDDI, SoftBank and e-commerce giant Rakuten were approved by the communications ministry after determining that the companies’ applications met the conditions of the allocation of 5G spectrum.

NTT DoCoMo is planning the largest spend with goals to invest at least JPY 795 billion in the deployment of 5G networks during this period. KDDI announced investments of JPY 466 billion, while SoftBank and Rakuten are targeting investments of JPY 206 billion and JPY 194 billion respectively.

According to the report, the four carriers aim to launch commercial 5G services in 2020.

The conditions for the allocation of 5G spectrum included commitments to offer services in every prefecture of the nation within two years, and set up 5G base stations in at least half the country within five years.

According to the report, NTT DoCoMo and KDDI are each targeting to cover over 90% of the country’s population with 5G by the end of the five-year period, while SoftBank is targeting 64% coverage and Rakuten is aiming for 56%.

 NTT DoCoMo previously said it plans to launch pre-commercial 5G services in September 2019. The company also said that customers will be able to experience 5G services during the Rugby World Cup this year.

NTT DoComo has been adding partners to its 5G Open partner program, through which it aims to create 5G-based solutions. The program currently has 1,800 partners and expects to end 2021 with 5,000 partners, the executive said.

Newcomer Rakuten Mobile Network received approval for its Special Base Station Deployment Plan in April 2018 and aims to launch its first services as a mobile network operator in October 2019. The Japanese company aims to acquire at least 15 million subscribers in an initial phase of the mobile deployment.

Rakuten also said it expects to invest at least JPY 200 billion at the start of the service in 2019, and a maximum of JPY 600 billion in 2025.

Rakuten is currently offering mobile services in the Japanese market via a MVNO scheme.

Bids in Germany’s 5G spectrum auction pass $5.6 billion

In other 5G news, the German Federal Network Agency said that a total of EUR 5.06 billion ($5.6 billion) was offered by the four bidders in the 170th round of the 5G spectrum auction.

The bids for the 2 GHz band reached a total of EUR 2.06 billion and the bids for the 3.6 GHz band reached EUR 2.65 billion.

A total of four companies are competing for a total of 41 blocks of spectrum in the 2 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands.

Germany’s three mobile operators – Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland – have been admitted by the regulator to take part in the spectrum auction.

Also participating is 1&1 Drillisch, a virtual mobile operator controlled by United Internet that intends to become Germany’s fourth mobile operator.

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