During a week in the end of June and early July 2010 researchers Bengt G Mölleryd and Jan Markendahl at Wireless @ KTH conducted a study visit to Japan together with Professor Per Andersson and Dr Christopher Rosenqvist, at Stockholm School of Economics.
A number of companies, among them NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic R&D Center, SonyFelicia, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication and an e-learning center at Aoyama Gakuin University were visited.
The main impression from the visit was, not surprisingly, that Japan is a highly advanced society when it comes to communication solutions, like NFC for the transport sector and payment solutions. The deployment of fiber in the access network is primarily hanged on poles, which reduces capex considerable.
Moreover, mobile operators have succeeded to establish value added services with a ubiquitous usage of mobile email. But in comparison to the Swedish mobile operators Japanese operators have limited access to spectrum, which is illustrated by the fact that DoCoMo aim to launch LTE with 5 MHz.
Although ICT is extensively present in the Japanese society the domestic industry has not succeeded to export its solutions on the international market. Consequently, the Japanese Communications Ministry and Industry has set out to take a leading role in the post-internet area by developing a New Generation Network, which is planned to replace the currently rolled out Next Generation Network. The aim with the New Generation Network is that should be capable to manage the massive broadband traffic that is expected to flow in the networks around the year 2020.
A detailed report from the study visit can be read and downloaded here: Tokyo_roadtrip_2010_report_29_Aug.pdf .