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The Edge

KDDI preps 5G service sandwich, puts AWS Wavelength to work

KDDI is to launch its "au 5G" service in limited areas across the country this Thursday, March 26, one day after NTT DoCoMo is set to debut its 5G service and a day before SoftBank plans to start its 5G offer.

KDDI said it, and its subsidiary Okinawa Cellular, will be offering an "augmented experience" that "makes full use of 5G and advanced technology," and which includes augmented sports, entertainment and sightseeing. Among the "real experiences" on offer will be "video, XR [extended reality], cloud games" and more. For more details on the services, see KDDI's press release (in Japanese).

The operator, which ended 2019 with more than 58 million mobile connections, announced last September that it would source radio access network equipment from Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung. It also said last month that it was testing 5G core technology from Ericsson and Nokia.

And now it has shared further 5G architecture details: KDDI today noted it will use AWS Wavelength as part of its service delivery platform: "In the edge computing environment constructed by KDDI, application developers can deploy services utilizing low latency while using the same familiar APIs, tools and functions as AWS [is] currently using," it stated.

KDDI is one of a number of major operators that are integrating AWS's Wavelength edge compute and storage systems in their networks to help launch their 5G services: The Japanese carrier is also part of an international, multi-operator plan to develop an interoperable edge computing platform.

"AWS Wavelength is a solution designed specifically for 5G mobile operators to offer services in partnership with Amazon Web Services," says Gabriel Brown, Heavy Reading's principal analyst, mobile networks and 5G. "The AWS Wavelength racks sit inside the operator's network behind a distributed packet core to reduce latency," offering an alternative approach to the "external, centrally deployed AWS Cloud."

Brown adds: "Fundamentally, it's about application performance, and the entire industry is watching to see what that means in practice for 5G services. Developers will have to re-factor applications to take advantage of this new topology, but a familiar AWS environment, with tools to help customers make the transition, are what makes Amazon an attractive partner."

KDDI's top end 5G service, its Data MAX 5G All Star pack, will cost at least 5,460 yen (US$49.26) for unlimited data usage and includes Netflix, Apple Music, YouTube Premium and Telasa (a streaming video service) as part of the bundle, but isn't available until June: The most extensive service available from this Thursday is the MAX 5G Netflix pack, which will cost at least ¥4,260 ($38.44) for unlimited data and includes Netflix and Telasa as part of the bundle.

It has a range of 5G devices available to prospective customers, including the Xperia 1 II, Galaxy S20 5G and AQUOS R5G.

For more details, see:

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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