NEC will be selling NTT DOCOMO’s new standalone 5G mobile core network (5GC) as a core vendor when it debuts in 2021. The company will also outfit NTT DOCOMO with a compact data processor to help accelerate the development of the standalone 5G network. The data processor has been dubbed the UPF mini, and it will reduce the computational load needed to deliver features like Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Machine Type Communications (mMTC), and Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications (URLLC).
To that end, the UPF mini is a low-power processor that can be integrated into a unit in many different ways. For example, it could be installed in the wired section of a device to minimize the distance to the application server, which will speed up processing times and support ultra low-latency 5G services.
NTT DOCOMO’s 5GC supports cloud applications and sliced networks. NEC, meanwhile, will help promote the solution on a global scale as the two companies work together to expand international 5G coverage.
“This 5GC allows us to build a 5G core network that can flexibly accommodate a wide variety of needs and use cases,” said NTT DOCOMO R&D Innovation Executive GM Naoki Tani. “Going forward, NTT DOCOMO will continue to provide state-of-the-art functions together with NEC and other partners in order to promote further advances in 5G networks.”
“We look forward to providing high-quality and reliable 5GC in addition to the core network devices and radios we have already provided for NTT DOCOMO’s 4G network,” added NEC Network Services EVP Atsuo Kawamura. “NEC will continue to support NTT DOCOMO’s expansion of 5G services and contributing to the further development of next-generation mobile infrastructure, both domestically and across global markets.”
The arrangement builds on the longstanding 5G relationship between the two companies. NEC and NTT DOCOMO teamed up for a pair of 5G trials in early 2019, and NEC supplied NTT with 5G radio units later in the year. More recently, NEC formed an official R&D partnership with the NTT Corporation that will place a strong emphasis on 5G technology.