KDDI and SoftBank have established a joint venture to build out 5G technology in rural areas. The agreement will include the ‘mutual use’ of existing base stations and management of new sites, which will accelerate deployments in rural Japan. This follows a recent announcement that Bouygues Telecom and Phoenix Tower were also establishing a joint venture to develop approximately 4,000 new towers across France.
Such developments highlight the different approaches operators are taking to deploy 5G in rural regions to extract better cost efficiencies and ensure more attractive returns on investment.
Although GSMA Intelligence forecasts a moderate slowdown in global 5G adoption and delay in extensive 5G networks due to Covid-19, the impact is considered to be short term, with vendors such as Qualcomm predicting a snap-back in demand. As the world learns and recovers from the crisis, wider connectivity and better networks are set to grow in priority for consumers, enterprises and governments. Approaches such as those highlighted will become increasingly important to maintain a positive outlook on 5G deployments.