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Rakuten Mobile and University of Tokyo Explore LEO and IoT Possibilities

By | December 1, 2021
Communication network around Earth. Photo: NASA, Via Satellite

Communication network around Earth. Photo: NASA, Via Satellite

Rakuten Mobile is teaming up with the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Engineering to look at the possibilities of using Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites to help boost IoT coverage in Japan. The two organizations announced the collaboration on Nov. 29.

As part of the R&D for this project, the organizations will leverage their respective expertise in satellite communications technology and narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) to build an IoT network using LEO satellite communications and establish new use cases for IoT services using NB-IoT and LTE devices. They plan to will use satellite communications to expand geographical coverage to 100% and enable long-distance communications with existing NB-IoT and IoT devices with the aim of achieving IoT ultra coverage.

They believe it will become possible to provide low-cost IoT services for various industries in locations that would typically be out of network coverage, such as mountainous areas, remote islands or on the sea, with an NB-IoT and LTE network using satellites.

R&D for this project is planned until the end of March 2025. Rakuten Mobile has the aim to enhance its satellite communications network to provide a more convenient service to its customers and contribute to the development of telecommunications technologies in Japan.