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Japanese telecommunications giants unveil plans to expand space businesses; KDDI hopes to create an environment for 5G use on the moon


The Yomiuri Shimbun
A model of a high-altitude platform station, which NTT Corp. wants to commercialize, can be seen on Monday in the Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

NTT Corp., KDDI Corp. and other telecommunications giants have unveiled their plans to expand their space operations as more companies move to develop space telecommunications services to boost revenues.

NTT announced Monday that it will build a communications network that will connect space and ground through a combination of satellites and unmanned vehicles, aiming to generate ¥100 billion in revenue from its space business by fiscal year 2033.

NTT plans to launch a new service using high-altitude platform stations (HAPS) in 2026. These stations will be unmanned aerial vehicles that will remain in the air for about 20 kilometers and transmit radio signals, allowing communication on remote islands or at sea. among other areas.

NTT Docomo Inc. and other NTT group companies plan to invest up to $100 million (¥15.7 billion) in a startup developing unmanned aircraft under the Airbus SE umbrella.

NTT also plans to join Amazon.com Inc.’s Project Kuiper, a planned network of low-Earth orbit satellites, and launch two satellites for Japan by the end of 2024 and hopes to have a service as early as 2025 who will use it.

“We will create new services by maximizing the potential of space,” NTT President Akira Shimada said at a news conference.

KDDI announced Thursday that it will build an environment where high-speed, high-capacity 5G technology can be used on the moon by 2030. In collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and other organizations, KDDI will develop communications technology using lasers and other technology to build base stations.

SoftBank Corp. for its part, HAPS wants to put it into practice in or after the 2027 financial year.

Rakuten Mobile, Inc., a Rakuten Group, Inc. company, said it will launch a satellite-to-smartphone service as early as 2026. Rakuten Mobile will use the satellites of AST SpaceMobile, Inc., an American startup in which Rakuten Group has invested.

The telecommunications giants are focusing on their space activities, partly because the Japanese government is encouraging private companies to enter the space industry.

The government has set a goal of expanding the domestic space market to ¥8 trillion by the 2030s, double the current market size.

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