NTT Docomo has initiated Japan’s first experimental demonstration of a self-powered hydropower cellular base station. This project, designed to showcase sustainable and low-cost connectivity solutions for rural areas, features a hydroelectric power-generation system utilizing a jet turbine developed by Professor Yukihiro Shimatani from the Prefectural University of Kumamoto.

A consortium of major Japanese tech companies, including mobile operator NTT DoCoMo, has successfully conducted a trial of 5G communication in the 38 GHz band using a base station positioned 4 km above ground level. This experiment is a critical part of Japan’s initiative to establish high-altitude platform stations (HAPS) for delivering 5G services from the stratosphere.

In a recent development, the Japanese government has passed a significant amendment to longstanding telecom regulations, marking a pivotal moment for NTT, the country’s telecom giant. The amendment, announced by NTT on Wednesday, encompasses several key changes, including the liberation from R&D information sharing obligations and the allowance for non-Japanese directors on its board.

In an unexpected turn of events, Google’s Pixel smartphones are carving out a significant niche for themselves in Japan, a market traditionally dominated by local brands and, more recently, by Apple. Despite a general downturn in the Japanese mobile phone sector, Google has emerged as a notable exception, with its Pixel range securing a market share surpassing 10% by the end of the fourth quarter of 2023. This growth positions Google as the third-largest player in the market, right behind Sharp but ahead of several traditional and long-standing competitors.

Japan’s largest telecom provider, NTT, might get a break from longstanding regulations that have created competitive boundaries since its partial privatization back in the 1980s. But will this veer the industry off the road to a fair market environment? The proposed changes face major resistance, with critics highlighting the impact on national interests and the security of Japan’s telecom infrastructure.

In an ambitious move to enhance mobile connectivity across Japan, Rakuten Mobile has announced its plan to offer satellite-to-mobile services by 2026, partnering with AST SpaceMobile. This initiative aims to leverage AST SpaceMobile’s space-based cellular broadband network, enabling direct access to smartphones for text messaging, voice, and data services.

In a significant move to strengthen its position in the global semiconductor industry, the Japanese government has committed approximately $307 million in subsidies to a high-profile semiconductor project. This initiative brings together major players NTT from Japan, Intel from the United States, and South Korea’s SK Hynix. Their collaboration focuses on the development of advanced optical semiconductor technology, which promises faster data processing speeds and reduced energy consumption compared to traditional electrical semiconductors.

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), NTT DOCOMO, and SKY Perfect JSAT join forces with Amazon’s Project Kuiper to turbocharge Japan’s telecom services. The partnership seeks to leverage Project Kuiper’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite broadband network, offering a breadth of connectivity to enterprises and government entities despite the nation’s geographical challenges. The strategic emphasis is on utilizing Kuiper’s capabilities for redundant communication networks, covering even hard-to-reach locations ramping up continuity of services after emergencies and natural disasters.