NTT, Fujitsu to develop next-generation network together

NTT Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd. plan to form a business alliance to develop 6G communications network infrastructure, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The alliance will focus on technology beyond the 5G high-speed, high-capacity communications standard that will become the norm.

The firms are aiming to increase their international competitiveness by bringing together their respective technologies amid intensifying competition with foreign companies in the telecommunications field, according to sources.

The two companies are expected to make an announcement about the tie-up as early as Monday.

The main pillar of the alliance will be Fujitsu’s cooperation in the Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN), a communications infrastructure that NTT is developing with an aim to put into practical use around 2030.

Compared with existing technologies, IOWN expands transmission capacity by 125 times and decreases power consumption by 99%.

The system is also expected to contribute to the government’s decarbonization initiative.

Practical application of IOWN will require the development of various related components that incorporate the new technology.

NTT, through a subsidiary, has taken an approximately 67% stake in Fujitsu Advanced Technologies Ltd., a Fujitsu subsidiary that is strong in semiconductor design. NTT is expected to make maximum use of the firm’s technologies.

NTT also hopes to capitalize on Fujitsu’s advanced information processing technology, such as that developed through the operation of the Fugaku supercomputer.

Fujitsu, for its part, aims to increase its presence in the overseas telecommunications equipment market through the deepening of its relationship with NTT.

Japanese companies in the 5G market are lagging behind the likes of Ericsson AB of Sweden and Nokia Oyj of Finland. Similar to Fujitsu, NEC has tied up with NTT, in a sign that Japanese companies are working together to regain their footing.

U.S. tech giants such as Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. have expressed support for IOWN.

While Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co. is gathering strength, Japanese companies have made clear their stance of cooperating with the United States to tackle economic and security issues.