Tokyo to install 5G ‘smart poles’ with NEC

(Image credit: NEC)

NEC, part of the Sumitomo Corporation general trading group, has partnered with Japan’s Tokyo Metropolitan Government to install and trial 5G smart poles within the city, enabling hundreds of small cells, which can then be deployed in areas where it is impractical or impossible to install full-size 5G towers

NEC’s Smart Street Lighting uses LED technology and centralized control to reduce energy usage and costs. As well as delivering 5G, these poles also act as a sensor network infrastructure that efficiently collects data about the city. And Sumitomo Corporation intends to install two types of NEC smart poles in the Nishi-shinjuku area of Tokyo by the end of June 2020.  

Safer cities with 5G

Two models of NEC's Smart Street Lighting will be equipped with functions such as digital signage and pedestrian traffic flow analysis cameras. And one model will be outfitted with a shared, 5G antenna system for joint use by multiple telecommunications carriers, while the other will be equipped with 5G base stations for multiple telecommunications carriers. 

According to NEC, the aim is to have 5G shared antenna systems in use across the city by March 2021, with plans to develop new and improved services for Tokyo’s residents and visitors.

In its "TOKYO Data Highway Basic Strategy" formulated in August 2019, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government called for the construction of an ultra-high-speed mobile Internet network in Tokyo. And as part of that effort, the government was looking to install smart poles at an early date in the Nishi-shinjuku area. As things stand, the poor propagation qualities and geographical range of high-band mmWave 5G spectrum means operators need to densify their networks with more access points than 3G or 4G, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has opted for NEC’s Smart Street Lighting solution. 

Smart poles are multi-functional poles equipped with communication base stations, Wi-Fi, street lighting, signage, and more, and – as part of NEC’s ‘Safer Cities’ initiative – the company hopes to deliver infrastructure that enables the provision of new community services across Japan.

Dan Oliver

Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.