Approximately three years after it began offering commercial 5G services to consumers, SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) launched its “Private 5G” service for enterprises in Japan on March 29, 2023. SoftBank’s Private 5G is a managed service that can be customized based on the needs of different companies, local governments and other kinds of organizations.
What is Private 5G?
When people hear the word, “5G,” “Public 5G” is what may spring to mind. To use Public 5G, a consumer with a 5G-compatible mobile handset and subscription needs to be in a location with a 5G network coverage. As a Mobile Network Operator (MNO), SoftBank has been offering Public 5G services for consumers across Japan since March 2020.
With a Private 5G network, on the other hand, an MNO uses its licensed spectrum to manage a service that provides 5G network connectivity with the required bandwidth and capacity for a specified location, such as the premises of a factory or a municipality. By introducing Private 5G, enterprises can benefit from a highly secure, stable and high-performance wireless network.
Network slicing enables high-quality connectivity
SoftBank is initially offering what’s called “shared-type” Private 5G. Private 5G (shared type) realizes high-performance and secure wireless communications by utilizing a technology known as “network slicing,” a technique enabled by 5G standalone (5G SA) technology that divides a single network into multiple virtual connections that use dedicated computing resources. This makes it possible to “slice” or apportion sections of a network for specific customer uses.
As a result, enterprise customers can quickly equip facilities like large factories with wireless connectivity without spending time on network construction and operation. Network slicing reduces network congestion, which is useful for applications that require stable connections, such as hazard detection or the remote operation of equipment.
With the provision of its Private 5G (shared-type) service, SoftBank will work to enhance what’s called the Operational Technology (OT) domain–which covers the control of equipment in factories and buildings–and integrate IT systems with OT systems, which have been largely fragmented until now.
Later in the fiscal 2023–the year ending on March 31, 2024–SoftBank plans to provide a “Private 5G (dedicated)” service, which will offer an advanced private 5G network environment through the installation of dedicated base stations and equipment on a customer’s premises.
Terminals for Private 5G
Along with the launch of its Private 5G (shared-type) service, SoftBank began offering the “SH-U01” 5G mobile router manufactured by Sharp Corporation. The 5G SA compatible router is capable of providing downlink data transmission speeds of up to 2.1Gbps. SoftBank also plans to offer an industrial 5G terminal being developed by Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. in 2024 as part of a collaborative effort to realize smart factories.
(Posted on April 18, 2023)
by SoftBank News Editors