SoftBank Corp. first carrier in Japan to provide 5G standalone commercial services

SoftBank Corp. (“SoftBank”) today announced that it has started to offer 5G standalone (5G SA) commercial services in conjunction with the sale of its new 5G-compatible1 SoftBank Air2 terminal, “Air Terminal 5.” With this sales launch, SoftBank will be the first*3 carrier in Japan to offer 5G SA commercial services. [Notes]

  • *1

Availability of 5G services by SoftBank Air is limited to areas that have 5G network coverage. For more information on 5G network coverage for SoftBank Air, please see (in Japanese).

  • *2

SoftBank Air is a home Internet service that provides high-speed Wi-Fi by simply plugging a terminal into a power outlet. Data is transported to and from the SoftBank Air terminal via a mobile cellular radio link.

  • *3

Based on SoftBank Corp. research (as of October 19, 2021).

5G SA delivers ultra-high-speed, ultra-low latency and massive device connectivity that is difficult to realize in previous generations of mobile networks.

Unlike 5G non-standalone (5G NSA) services, which employ a system structure that couples legacy 4G core network equipment with 5G base stations, 5G SA uses leading-edge technology that combines new 5G-dedicated core network equipment with 5G base stations.

5G NSA and 5G SA Network Structure Differences

5G NSA and 5G SA Network Structure Differences

The most important features of 5G SA networks are their ability to deliver network slicing4 and Private 5G5 networks, which are customized networks tailored to individual enterprise needs, and other connectivity features based on advanced technologies.

Also, since it uses container-based*6 applications that operate on a cloud-native network infrastructure, SoftBank's 5G SA network enables rapid capacity expansion and faster delivery of new services.

Starting with the introduction of Air Terminal 5, SoftBank plans to phase in additional services that take advantage of 5G SA's features. Furthermore, through the SoftBank 5G Consortium—an assembly of businesses entities from a variety of sectors, 5G-affiliated partners and outside experts—SoftBank will work to support advanced healthcare, automated driving and other next-generation societal infrastructure with high-quality connectivity services afforded by the ultra-high-speed, ultra-low-latency and massive device connectivity features of 5G SA. With this initiative, SoftBank will contribute to advanced societal infrastructure and the enrichment of wider industry segments. [Notes]

  • *4

Network slicing is a technology that makes it possible to create multiple virtual networks, or network ‘slices.’ The sliced networks can be optimized for distinct applications/services with specific requirements, such as ultra-high-speed data downloads, low-latency needed for automated driving, and massive device connectivity.

  • *5

Private 5G networks are networks built specifically for companies or municipalities that utilize SoftBank's 5G spectrum.

  • *6

A technology where individual units of software called containers, which run on an operating system, can be deployed for different applications. It is a technology that enables micro-service-based agility and resilient software development.

  • 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.
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