• Kyodo

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The country’s three major mobile carriers and e-commerce operator Rakuten Inc. have applied for the allocation of a mobile phone frequency band to introduce next-generation 5G wireless services, the communications ministry said Tuesday.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications will review plans by NTT Docomo Inc., KDDI Corp., SoftBank Corp. and Rakuten before seeking final approval by an advisory panel to the minister on April 10, it said.

Some of the carriers plan to start 5G services, capable of delivering speeds some 100 times faster than the current 4G networks, on a trial basis later this year, with full-scale rollout expected in 2020.

The next-generation mobile networks are considered essential for new technologies such as autonomous driving and the “internet of things.”

The telecommunications ministry has urged the mobile carriers to effectively exclude products made by Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. in their network facilities due to concerns about security breaches that have already prompted the United States and some other counties to ban the two Chinese companies from supplying infrastructure products.

Rakuten plans to launch its 4G service in October and is building a network that can also be used for 5G communications.

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