Business / Corporate

KDDI and Facebook to open pop-up store in Tokyo to showcase 5G tech

Kyodo

KDDI Corp. and Facebook Inc. said Wednesday they will collaborate on offering new shopping experiences through next-generation, ultrafast 5G communications networks.

The major mobile phone carrier and social media giant’s Japanese unit will open a pop-up store next spring in Tokyo that will allow customers to virtually try on makeup or clothing using pictures of themselves by scanning the items with their smartphones. The service uses the photo- and video-sharing app Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

After scanning the items, customers can also receive assistance and explanations of the products from virtual shop attendants on their smartphone screens. The virtual assistants can respond in several different languages to cater to the growing number of foreign travelers to Japan, a KDDI spokesman said.

5G can deliver data transmission speeds around 100 times faster than current 4G networks. It will be commercially available next spring in Japan.

Enabling more seamless imagery with lower latency, more vivid images and sharper motion, 5G is expected to be widely used in areas such as autonomous driving, gaming and remote medical surgery.

Rival mobile phone carriers SoftBank Corp. and NTT Docomo Inc. are also teaming up with U.S. tech companies to enhance their services and tap into the prospective 5G market.

They are looking to enhance services beyond merely providing phone and internet connectivity after a legal revision that came into effect in October banned carriers from earning revenue by placing high fees on data usage in exchange for subsidizing device purchases.

NTT Docomo said Tuesday subscribers to its high-capacity mobile phone plan will be entitled to free one-year membership of the on-demand service Amazon Prime, operated by Amazon.com Inc., from Dec. 1. SoftBank also offers unlimited access to social network sites such as Facebook.