Since it launched commercial 5G services in March 27, 2020, SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) has made significant progress in rolling out 5G smartphones and services. As of writing, SoftBank now has over 10 million subscribers signed up to 5G contracts across its three mobile brands (‘SoftBank,’ ‘Y!mobile’ and ‘LINEMO’).
5G network expansion is also proceeding apace. Plans to achieve population coverage of 80% by the end of October 2021 are on track, and the company is targeting 90% population coverage by spring 2022.
With more 5G compatible smartphones and the fast pace of the 5G network rollout, however, one common issue facing 5G subscribers in Japan has come to the fore: the “packet loss” phenomenon that weakens or disrupts connectivity on 5G smartphones.
What causes packet loss? As 5G network coverage expands, 5G signal connections are prioritized, even if a 5G base station is located far away and the 4G signal is stronger in a given area. Located on the far edge of a 5G area, a 5G smartphone will work hard to “reach” for a weak 5G signal.
To address this issue, SoftBank developed a countermeasure that creates a seamless and optimal network configuration to combine both 4G and 5G systems according to their respective signal strengths. Furthermore, SoftBank plans to deploy cloud-based 5G base stations to enable the provision of carrier aggregation (a technique to boost data per user) using 5G bandwidth nationwide.
At a press conference held in Tokyo on September 14, 2021, to announce this and other 5G initiatives, SoftBank’s Senior Vice President & CNO Tomohiro Sekiwa commented, “As we press ahead to expand our 5G population coverage to 90% by spring 2022, we want to ensure our customers can enjoy 5G connectivity that’s truly amazing.”
(Posted on September 15, 2021)
by SoftBank News Editors