Press Releases 2022

SoftBank Corp. Starts Deployment of 5G MEC in Japan

May 26, 2022
SoftBank Corp.

SoftBank Corp. (“SoftBank”) today announced that it opened a 5G MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing) site in the Kanto region and started the nationwide deployment of MEC servers in Japan from May 2022.

SoftBank 5G MEC delivers a low-latency, high-quality (low-jitter) and highly secure service experience by using 5G SA (5G Stand Alone)*1 commercial services, which SoftBank began rolling out in October 2021, a Japan first. As a digital platform provider in the Beyond 5G era, SoftBank will work to solve societal issues and contribute to the development of industry by promoting the digital transformation (DX) of various enterprises and realizing Digital Twin*2.

Until now, when a user accessed an application or service, a communication path was set up from the user device to a relatively far away application server. SoftBank's 5G MEC now makes it possible for customers to experience high-speed, low-latency services through the deployment of applications close to user devices within the 5G SA network, which significantly reduces server access times.

SoftBank's 5G MEC platform provides a Kubernetes*3-based container environment, which is a de facto standard for application development. From physical infrastructure set-up to application deployment and distribution, 5G MEC sites are automated. Such features make applications on the 5G MEC platform more fault-tolerant, and they also enable faster service rollout with reduced complexity, both for application developers and application providers (such as SaaS providers). This improves a variety of industry services such as emergency notifications (sent in the event of natural disasters, for example), in-building IoT-based network deployments, factory automation, multi-user network gaming, automated driving, among others.

SoftBank is promoting proof of technology for a wide variety of use cases with participating companies and organizations in the SoftBank 5G Consortium, as well as for other partners, and is driving the nationwide deployment of 5G MEC. Furthermore, SoftBank is integrating 5G MEC with SRv6 Flex Algo*4 and SRv6 Mobile User Plane (SRv6 MUP)*5 to provide quick and flexible services, such as network slicing—which provides virtual networks according to individual customer service requirements—and low-latency services that leverage the features of 5G MEC.

Comments from SoftBank and 5G MEC partner companies

“This deployment of 5G MEC is a major milestone for SoftBank. Its compatibility with SRv6 MUP and network slicing, along with its automation of operation features, make it unique across the industry. With our partners, we'll develop a multi-industry ecosystem to become a complete digital platform provider by harnessing the capabilities of our 5G MEC solution,” said Keiichi Makizono, SoftBank Corp. Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO).

Comments from partners supporting the 5G MEC are as follows.

F5, a strategic partner for SoftBank that has worked jointly on strategic initiatives including SRv6 and 5G MEC, commented on 5G MEC:
“SoftBank is committed to enabling the digital transformation of companies and organizations across all sectors, and we are honored to have been selected as a cloud partner in this aim. We share with SoftBank a vision where modern applications must integrate seamlessly with cloud operations to create exceptional end user experiences. We look forward to further enabling SoftBank to execute on this vision, for their cloud native customers' use cases in and beyond 5G,” said Ankur Singla, SVP, Security & Distributed Cloud Product Group, F5.

“Corezero is excited to join SoftBank's 5G MEC initiative. Corezero enables Logging-as-a-Service. Our flagship product FFWD is a real-time observability system built using cutting edge software to achieve true Ingest-Query-Separation, and Compute-Storage-Separation: an architecture type that best serves the modern high-volume log flows and query profiles in highly distributed cloud environments. We are looking forward to working with SoftBank to provide Logging-as-a-Service (LaaS) starting from their 5G MEC enhanced with low-cost programmability,” said Yee Soon, CEO, Corezero.

“Niantic has been working with SoftBank on promotions for our AR/location-based game titles, as well as network optimization at our live events, etc. We believe that SoftBank's nationwide deployment of 5G MEC will open up new possibilities not only for our game titles but also for developers and creators who use Niantic Lightship ARDK, which will lead to the creation of an innovative AR experience from Japan to the world in the future,” said Setsuto Murai, President, Niantic Japan

“Vantiq is excited to be part of SoftBank's 5G MEC program, which is bringing significant value to the communications industry. The combination of SoftBank's Digital Platform, which provides the necessary edge-computing infrastructure, and Vantiq's real-time distributed processing capabilities, will help drive market innovation and disruption through the creation of mission-critical, ultra low-latency business applications,” said Marty Sprinzen, CEO, Vantiq.

“We are very excited about the Kubernetes (k8) container technology-based SoftBank 5G MEC roll out. MIXI is actively utilizing the k8-based container platform for future microservice based application development. By utilizing 5G MEC distributed all over Japan with a high affinity with mobile networking, we aim for further innovation in the sports entertainment area along with other futuristic applications,” said Junpei Yoshino, Chief General Manager, Development Operations, mixi, Inc.

“Yahoo! JAPAN is proactively trying to adopt new technologies to provide safe, secure, and comfortable services to a wide range of customers. Therefore, we are paying close attention to the expansion of SoftBank 5G MEC, which will enhance the possibility of our services by providing CSP infrastructure closer to our customers' mobile devices with higher network reliability, significantly reduced processing speed, and ease of deployment through container infrastructure. We also expect MEC sites distributed around the world to be a powerful advantage when we, the content service providers, expand our business all over the world. We have high expectations for SoftBank to lead this important platform,” said Masahiko Kokubo, Director, EVP, Managing Corporate Officer, CTO, Yahoo Japan Corporation.

“The JCV face recognition platform is widely adopted at thousands of retail shops and entertainment venues. To provide customers with highly accurate AR experiences using spatial image recognition at commercial facilities and stadiums Real-time computing processing using SoftBank's upcoming 5G MEC will enable us to provide our customers with increased accuracy and ultra-low latency. We are confident that, with SoftBank 5G MEC, this will fuel the creation of a metaverse platform linking online and offline,” said Andrew Schwabecher, CEO of Japan Computer Vision Corp.

“We are very much excited about SoftBank's 5G MEC deployment which will play a vital role in realizing distributed computing necessary for advanced digital society. Using SRv6 for networking will make SoftBank's 5G MEC even more optimal and easy to deploy at remote locations. By utilizing our regional Internet eXchanges (IX), BBIX with its valued partners will deliver the optimal network platform for the Digital Twin era,” said Hidetoshi Ikeda, Representative Director, President & CEO, BBIX, Inc.

  1. *1
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  2. *2
    Digital twin is a technology that collects information in real space via IoT, etc. and reproduces real space in cyber space based on the transmitted data.
  3. *3
    Kubernetes is a portable, extensible, open source platform for managing containerized workloads and services, that facilitates both declarative configuration and automation.
  4. *4
    See details.
  5. *5
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  • SoftBank, the SoftBank name and logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of SoftBank Group Corp. in Japan and other countries.
  • Other company, product and service names in this press release are registered trademarks or trademarks of the respective companies.