Research Areas


It is said that nearly half of the world's population still lacks Internet access. The delay in improving the communications infrastructure, particularly in rural and remote areas, is critical. One of the major reasons for this delay is that the construction of base stations requires a great deal of cost, and this is a problem that cannot be easily solved. Satellite communications cannot overcome all these problems because they require dedicated equipment and offer limited communication capacity.

SoftBank’s Research Institute of Advanced Technology is researching and developing a telecommunication platform called "HAPS (High Altitude Platform Station)". HAPS can provide Internet connectivity from the stratosphere, which is a commercially unexplored area. As HAPS is equipped with a base station and flies in a stationary rotation in the stratosphere over long periods, it can provide a wide-area coverage from the sky. Since HAPS is closer to the ground than satellites, it can provide low-latency, high-quality communication to smartphones without dedicated equipment.

We are also researching and developing technologies that are necessary to realize the commercialization of HAPS services, such as developing airframes and components, and network communication equipment (payloads). We are also working on building the regulatory policies in aviation industries for flying in the stratosphere and standards for flying across countries.


Realize a connected society by bridging the digital divide and provide connectivity to people around the world

HAPS can help eliminate the digital divide and provide high-quality communication networks to people all over the world. In addition, even in the event of disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons that can greatly damage ground facilities, HAPS can continue to provide communication networks without interruption, contributing to rescue operations, disaster recovery, and business continuity. Furthermore, it is expected that opportunities for use of drones and IoT devices will be greatly enhanced with the network coverage expanding into areas where ground base stations were unable to reach, such as mountainous areas, offshore, and in the skies.

Research Areas