Intel and NTT DoCoMo prepare 5G plans for Tokyo 2020 Olympics

(Image credit: JNTO)

The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics were an important milestone in the development of 5G, but the next summer games in Tokyo will be a demonstration of what can be achieved through next generation networks.

Intel, which is an Olympic technology partner until Paris 2024, was delighted with how its 5G trials in South Korea performed, with 22 5G links at 10 sites delivering 3,800TB of network capacity.

Speaking at MWC 2018, the company said it is already planning for Tokyo 2020 where 360-degree, 8K video will be transmitted from Japan to smartphones and VR headsets around the world through the various broadcasters.

Tokyo 2020 5G

“Instead of watching surfing from the beach, for example, viewers will feel like they're riding the waves with the athletes,” said Aicha Evans, chief strategy officer at Intel.

Tokyo 2020 will also see smart city applications and allow athletes to gain access to eHealth technologies and data analytics that will boost performance.

The official supplier for the games is Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo, which plans to launch a  commercial 5G network in 2020.

Also speaking at MWC, NTT DoCoMo CEO Kazuhiro Yoshizawa said its plans for 5G were well underway and it was confident that 5G could help create new services and tackle social issues. The Olympics could be the killer app that convinces people they need the faster speeds, lower latency and higher capacity that 5G affords.

“Many people questioned the necessity when we introduced 3G and 4G but as it turns out, the adoption of social media and streaming expanded rapidly to become a ‘must have’ for many people’s lives,” he said.

“Back then the network rolled out first and services came out late. With 5G we want people to use new services from day one. The network and services will launch at the same time.”

Yoshizawa used his keynote address to stress the need for the creation of an ecosystem that would stimulate innovation and said its programme had so far attracted interest from more than 600 partners.

“Things that were previously difficult because of the limitations of 4G are now possible,” he concluded.

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MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2018 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.   

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.