5G, which has been available since March 2020, is a technology that is capable of significantly evolving industries and services.
SoftBank has engaged in various activities and research studies to make full use of 5G technology, developing services using eMBB (high speed, large capacity) and advanced R&D for URLLC (high reliability, low delay) and mMTC (multiple simultaneous connections).
Specifically, we are engaged in various types of verification testing for Vehicle to X (V2X) for truck platooning and control of self-driving vehicles to achieve a future automated driving society, and also R&D to realize low delay, high speed, and large capacity services combining Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) with 5G.
Stress-free access to large capacity, high video quality content and services with super-high speed communications.
Delay is substantially minimized, allowing use in broad-ranging applications like self-driving cars and remote operation of robots.
Simultaneous connectivity allows not only smartphones and tablets, but also various other devices to connect to networks, giving rise to new lifestyles and businesses.
Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) providing communications networks from space and the stratosphere.
Looking at the world around us, with roughly half of humanity unable to use the Internet, we have taken as our mission the bridging of the digital divide globally.
By building networks in the air we can allow use of networks in areas previously outside the service range, having a great impact not only on ordinary users, but also on the industrial world seeking to accelerate digital transformation (DX). SoftBank aims to digitalize at a single stroke analog industries lacking communications environments, and to provide advanced communications services and DX solutions for seamless connection to realize a transformation of social structures.
Developing NTNs also has much potential for BCP, as it can provide connected communications even when terrestrial communications equipment and networks are affected by disasters.
SoftBank’s Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN)
SoftBank will offer two different NTN solutions: OneWeb, and HAPS.
Beyond 5G/6G is expected to have more than ten times the communications performance of 5G, for features like communications speed, low delay in information transmission, and simultaneous connection with multiple devices. To realize this, we are engaged in research for vRAN toward complete virtualization, and terahertz communications enabling broadband large-capacity communications.
We are working on realizing High Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS), which can be built over broad areas and provide communications during disasters, and the development of next-generation beamforming technology to enable area formation and large capacities for HAPS. HAPSMobile Inc., our subsidiary, succeeded in a stratospheric flight and LTE communications from its unmanned aircraft system Sunglider, a solar-powered stratospheric communications platform.
As we look toward Beyond 5G/6G, we are engaged with diversified research and development, focusing on expanding a better communications business.
Pioneering the Future Beyond 5G: Taking Up the Challenge of 6G Terahertz Wave-based Communications
Communications platform technology
SoftBank is engaged in R&D for a variety of platform technologies supporting the evolution of communications.
With the spectacular development of drones, recent years have seen more interest in the commercialization of aerial base stations installed on such unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) flying several hundred meters to 20 kilometers above the ground. SoftBank is engaged in R&D for 3D space cell construction technology for next-generation cellular communications base stations, to realize ultra-broadband low delay communications by coordinating aerial base stations with terrestrial cellular communications networks.
As the main underlying technologies to create 3D cells that will make all outdoor 3D spaces available as service areas, including those in the sky, we are actively researching aerial base stations (repeaters), wireless communications technology, control networks to link the aerial base stations with terrestrial cellular networks, and radio wave propagation models to optimize cell design. We are actively seeking to promote international standards for our findings with the aim of contributing both domestically and globally.