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Now is the time to deepen your understanding of “5G”[5G thorough explanation]


The Special Event
The 5G era is finally here!

Now is the time to deepen your understanding of “5G”[5G thorough explanation]

NTT Docomo started on March 25, 2020, KDDI (au) on 26th, and Softbank on 27th started 5G services. We will explain what 5G is, which will revolutionize our lives, what will change, and the present and future.

High-speed, large-capacity “5G”. By dramatically increasing speed, an experience that has never existed is waiting for you (the image is a speed test by DOCOMO: provided by NTT DOCOMO)

What is 5G?

The mobile communication system has renewed the generation from “1G” to “4G” with a cycle of about 10 years. The fifth generation is “5G” (fifth generation mobile communication system). “G” is an acronym for “Generation,” which represents a generation.

5G has the following three features.

・ Ultra high speed
The theoretical communication speed of 5G is 10 Gbps (20 Gbps in the future), which is said to be about 10 times faster than the currently mainstream 4G (LTE). For example, if 4G (LTE) takes 30 seconds to download a two-hour movie, 5G will take only 3 seconds.

・ Ultra low latency
The delay time from data transmission to reception is reduced to about 1 millisecond (1/1000 second). This is so short that you can hardly experience the delay. By the way, the delay time of 4G (LTE) is about 10 milliseconds.

This will allow you to comfortably watch streaming videos and eliminate the stress caused by delays in cloud games. In addition, there are great expectations for automated driving that does not allow delays and for use in remote treatment sites.

・ Multiple simultaneous connections
It will be possible to connect 1 million devices at the same time in 1 km square. This is a calculation that is 30 to 40 times that of 4G (LTE).

Until now, PCs, smartphones, and some home appliances were mainly connected to the Internet, while all devices and various sensors are connected to the Internet. This is the start of a full-scale era of the so-called IoT (= Internet of Things).

Beginning with the voice era of the first generation analog method, the second generation has realized packet communication using the digital method. In the 3rd generation, it has evolved to be able to send and receive still images and moving images. In the 4th generation, you can also enjoy high-definition movies.

In this way, it can be said that up to the 4th generation, it has evolved as a communication tool that connects people. But 5G is more than just an evolution. Communication will change as an important foundation of the IoT era where people and things are connected, and it is expected to lead to the creation of new businesses.

The mobile communication system that has evolved over 30 years has reached a dramatic turning point due to 5G
Quotation source: Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications “5th generation mobile communication system (5G) now and future (PDF)”

What do you need to use 5G?

To use 5G provided by 3 carriers, a 5G compatible smartphone is required at the same time as the contract is changed to the 5G plan. Also, it can only be used in areas where 5G can be used. Let’s check along with the new service announced for 5G.

Rakuten Mobile also provides 5G services, but it is scheduled to start in June 2020, and details are still unknown.

(Note: Information such as plans and charges is as of the end of March 2020 and is subject to change.)

● 5G rate plan

The revised Telecommunications Business Law mandated the introduction of a “separation plan” that separates monthly communication charges from terminal charges. Therefore, the terminal fee is required in addition to the following usage fees.

* Tax not included unless otherwise specified

・ NTT DOCOMO

DOCOMO has two plans, “5G Gigaho” and “5G Gigalight”.

“5G Gigaho” is a large capacity plan with a data volume of 100GB. Since we are conducting a “data unlimited campaign” and there is no period, we can use unlimited capacity for the time being.

“5G gigaho discount” is applied, and 6,650 yen will be the base for 6 months. If the conditions are met, the discount in the red portion will be applied. If you want to make calls to people other than your family, you’ll want to have a call option service. “5 minutes free call option” can be used free of charge for 1 year

“5G Gigalite” is a plan in which the price increases gradually depending on the amount of data used. The monthly fee can be kept low, but the upper limit is as low as 7GB. To enjoy 5G services, it’s a good idea to select “5G Gigaho”.

The fee varies depending on the usage amount. If the conditions are met, the discount in the red portion will be applied. Call option service is common with “5G Gigaho”

・ Au

au has prepared a plan that is bundled with the content service for 5G.

The basis is “Data MAX 5G”, and you can also select “Data MAX 5G Netflix Pack” which is a set with the content service and “Data MAX 5G ALL STAR Pack” (planned to be provided from June 2020). There is also the “Pitat Plan 5G” in which the price increases gradually depending on the amount of data used.

“Data MAX 5G” has unlimited data capacity, but the upper limit is 30GB for tethering, data sharing, and flat-rate data usage data.

Since the “5G Start Campaign” will give a discount of 1,000 yen for 25 months, the base charge is 7,480 yen when a 2-year contract N is applied. If the conditions are met, the discount in the red portion will be applied. If you use a lot of phone calls, you want to keep it in the call option service

“Data MAX 5G Netflix Pack” includes usage fees for “Netflix (basic plan)” and “TELASA,” a video distribution service that KDDI and TV Asahi have teamed up with.

In addition, “TELASA” will be available from April 7, 2020, so “Video Pass” will be used until then.

Compared to “Data MAX 5G”, the base amount is increased by 1,000 yen. For tethering, data sharing, and flat-rate data usage, the upper limit will be increased to 60GB. Discount rates are also slightly different. Call option service is common

The “Data MAX 5G ALL STAR Pack” scheduled to be provided after June 2020 includes usage fees for “Netflix (basic plan)”, “Apple Music”, “YoTube Premium”, and “TELASA”.

It seems that the price will increase by about 1,200 yen from “Data MAX 5G Netflix Pack”, but details such as the discounted price have not yet been decided. For tethering, data sharing, and flat-rate data usage data, the upper limit is 80 GB.

With the “Pitat Plan 5G”, the price fluctuates in three stages depending on the amount of data used. Like DOCOMO, the upper limit is 7GB, so it can be said that this plan is not suitable for 5G services.

The price changes in stages. If the conditions are met, the discounted fee in the red portion will be applied. Call option service is common

・ Softbank

SoftBank has decided to add “5G basic fee” of 1,000 yen to the existing 4G plans “Merihari Plan”, “Minifit Plan” and “Smartphone Debut Plan”.

In both cases, the two-year “5G free campaign” is applied, so you can use 5G services for the same amount as the 4G plan.

In addition to 50GB of usable data, “Marihari Plan” applies “Unlimited video SNS”, which allows the usage data amount of the target service to be count-free.

Target services include YouTube, AbemaTV, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, LINE, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and more.

The “5G basic campaign” will be free for two years through the “5G free campaign”. In addition, a “half-year discount” will be applied. If the conditions are met, the discounted charges in the red part will also be applied

The “mini-fit plan” is a plan in which the price changes gradually depending on the amount of data used.

The amount of usable data is as small as 5GB. If the conditions are met, 1,000 yen for the “Home Discount Hikari Set” will be discounted. Call option service is common

The “smartphone debut plan” is a plan for users who use smartphones for the first time with usable data up to 1GB. This capacity, including the “Mini Fit Plan”, is not suitable for using 5G services.

Since the amount of data is up to 1GB, it is cheap at 980 yen per month, but if you use 5G it will be used up immediately. In addition, the “semi-flat-rate option +” of the call option service is mandatory.

● 5G compatible smartphone

To use 5G services, you need a smartphone that supports 5G. At the start of the service, NTT Docomo announced seven smartphones and one Wi-Fi router, au announced seven smartphones, and SoftBank announced four smartphones.

However, at the start of the service, two models were released by Docomo and au: “Galaxy S20 5G” and “AQUOS R 5G”. There are few choices for SoftBank, with two models of “AQUOS R 5G” and “ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G” and two models for each of the three carriers.

Additional smartphones in the middle range will be released at any time after April, so it’s a good idea to consider them once they are available.

As described above, since the communication fee and the terminal fee are currently separated, the terminal fee is required separately. The price is roughly, but a standard installment is 24 installments of 3,000 to 3,500 yen per month.

・ NTT DOCOMO


Docomo has announced the following seven smartphone models and Wi-Fi routers. For details on each model, check the DoCoMo website or Kakaku.com.

Galaxy S20 5G SC-51A on sale
AQUOS R5G SH-51A on sale
LG V60 ThinQ 5G L-51A Scheduled to be released from late April
Xperia 1 II SO-51A Scheduled to be released from late April
Galaxy S20 + 5G SC-52A Scheduled to be released from late May
arrows 5G F-51A Scheduled to be released from late June
Galaxy S20 + 5G Olympic Games Edition SC-52A Scheduled to be released after June
Wi-Fi STATION SH-52A Scheduled to be released from late May

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  • Fujitsu
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・ Au


au announced the following seven smartphone models. Details of each model can be confirmed on the au homepage and Kakaku.com.

Xperia 1 II Scheduled to be released after May
Galaxy S20 5G on sale
Galaxy S20 + 5G Scheduled to be released from late May
AQUOS R5G on sale
OPPO Find X2 Pro will be released after July
ZTE a1 scheduled to be released after July
Mi 10 Lite 5G Scheduled to be released after July

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・ Softbank


Softbank announced the following four smartphone models. Details of each model can be confirmed on the SoftBank website.

AQUOS R5G on sale
ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G on sale
LG V60 ThinQ 5G Scheduled to be released from late April
OPPO Reno3 5G Scheduled to be released from late July

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  • ZTE
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LG V60 ThinQ 5G SoftBank Product Image
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● Services for 5G

I would also like to pay attention to various services that are provided at the same time as the start of 5G services. What kind of ways can you enjoy using 5G? It will also be a guideline for whether to move to 5G.

・ NTT DOCOMO

The “d animation store” (400 yen / month), an all-you-can-watch anime service, offers a “horizontal video” that allows you to switch between vertical and horizontal images by simply changing the direction of your smartphone, taking advantage of the characteristic that you can smoothly watch multiple videos. .

The first is a collaboration between an animation produced by an animation production company, Kamikaze Animation, and a music video from the Tokyo Incident. Vertical will play animation, horizontal will play music video.

A “multi-streaming function” that allows you to watch multiple channels simultaneously will be added to “Hikari TV for docomo”. It is possible to watch up to 7 programs simultaneously from the 18 channels currently provided. It will be available in late April 2020.

The other is a cloud game service, “d game play ticket”. Here, you can enjoy a large-capacity game about the same as a dedicated game machine without downloading the app.

To use, purchase a ticket with an expiration date for each game. Start with 12 titles including “Nobunaga’s Ambition and Creation with Power Up Kit”.

In the future, for domestic smartphones, in addition to “Shin Sangoku Musou 8” which can be played only with “d game play ticket”, popular titles such as “FINAL FANTASY XV” will be added.

・ Au

Several new attempts are planned for “au Smart Pass Premium” (499 yen per month).

First, we will start “au 5G LIVE,” which expands the conventional live experience by utilizing 5G and advanced technologies, from July 2020. “Au 5G LIVE” aims to realize an unprecedented live experience by connecting three places: a live venue, a satellite venue, and video distribution to smartphones and VR terminals.

The first stage is scheduled to be a performance of “Zepp Haneda (TOKYO)” (scheduled to open in July 2020) of “SEKAI NO OWARI”.

In addition, au 5G has been introduced at two bases, “Yoshimoto ∞ Hall” and “Laugh Out” in Shibuya (content not yet determined).

Also, in collaboration with “Ghost in the Shell SAC_2045”, which will start exclusive distribution on Netflix, the world view of the same work will be reproduced on XR in the city of Shibuya.

In addition, the main stadium of Toyota Stadium has become an au 5G area. Realize the watching experience while displaying player stats through smart glasses.

Furthermore, using VR and AR, various contents are updated, from entertainment to sports to education / hobbies.

・ Softbank

Content distribution service “5G LAB” has started to be provided. This is a service consisting of four categories: “AR SQUARE”, “VR SQUARE”, “FR SQUARE” and “GAME SQUARE”.

It can be used by users of any carrier, and although it is of lower quality, it also supports 4G environments.

AR SQUARE
Use AR (Augmented Reality) technology to enlarge / reduce / rotate idols and characters for free viewing, and make your favorite idols and characters appear through your smartphone’s camera and take pictures with the actual background and people. You can also shoot movies.

VR SQUARE
The genre and contents will be greatly expanded from the previously provided VR (Virtual Reality) service “LiVR”, and the name will be changed. You can virtually experience live music and watching sports, and switch between multiple viewpoints to watch.

If you wear VR goggles, you can watch it in 3D, and you can enjoy switching viewpoints with just your smartphone.

FR SQUARE
You can enjoy images from multiple viewpoints. For example, in the case of live music, you can select and watch only your favorite members, or rotate the image at the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks match held at the Fukuoka PayPay Dome and watch it at any angle.

If you install the above 3 services from the App Store for iPhone / iPad and “Google Play” for Android smartphones, you can have a free trial until July 2020 (planned).

GAME SQUARE
NVIDIA’s cloud gaming service “GeForce NOW” is a Japanese service “GeForce NOW Powered by SoftBank” (monthly fee of 1,800 yen, 900 yen for half a year with pre-registration) will be provided from June. Until July 31, 2020, it can be used free of charge.

● 5G compatible area

Even if you contract a 5G rate plan and get a 5G smartphone, there is no point unless you can pick up 5G radio waves. Therefore, the 5G compatible area of ​​each carrier is very important.

In conclusion, the coverage area for all three carriers is surprisingly small. Currently, it is only available in very limited spots, and it is not in an environment where you can easily enjoy 5G.

Therefore, there is no need to rush to move to 5G. 5G smartphones are not yet available, and 5G-compatible iPhones will be available in the autumn. Take some time and examine it slowly.

Below, we will introduce the areas supported by each carrier and future plans.

・ NTT DOCOMO

The area map has not been prepared yet, and available facilities and spots are listed.

Transportation facilities such as stadiums and stations, tourist / commercial facilities, docomo shops, etc. are listed. Correspondence spot is updated at any time

Information page for 5G mobile communication system (5G) (NTT DoCoMo)


End of March 2020, 150 locations, 500 stations
47 prefectures at the end of June 2020
End of March 2021 500 cities including all government-designated cities
End of June 2021 10,000 stations
20,000 stations at the end of March 2022

・ Au

On the au service area map, you can check the schedule for the end of April 2020 and the schedule after the summer. Also, the address list of au 5G compatible areas has been released.

The red circle is scheduled for the end of April 2020, and the yellow is scheduled for the summer or later, but it is only a point. The left part of the screen and the red part are notes regarding the 5G area. Even if you click “Caution” in the upper right, the cautions are displayed

au service area map (au)


As of the end of March 2020, some areas of 15 prefectures nationwide
After 2020 summer, all major cities
10,000 stations at the end of March 2021
End of March 2022, over 20,000 stations

・ Softbank

Similar to au, you can check the schedule for the end of April 2020 and the schedule for the same summer and later on the service area map. In addition, the address list of planned support areas as of March 31, 2020 has also been released.

Pink is scheduled for the end of April 2020, and yellow is scheduled for the summer or later. After all, there are few places where 5G can be used

Pink is scheduled for the end of April 2020, and yellow is scheduled for the summer or later. After all, there are few places where 5G can be used

SoftBank service area map (SoftBank)


End of 2021 90% population coverage

Why is the coverage area so small?

Currently, the area for 5G is very small for all three carriers. Of course, there is a reason. Due to the characteristics of the frequency band used in 5G, we cannot easily increase the number of base stations.

The story around here will be important even when choosing a smartphone, so let’s deepen our understanding of frequency bands.

Radio waves are used to communicate with smartphones, and the unit of radio waves is frequency. When the electric wave is expressed as a waveform, it looks like the illustration below, but one pair of wave peaks and valleys is defined as “1 cycle”, and this is the unit called “1 Hz (hertz)”.

The frequency shows how many times this cycle repeats in one second. In the case of the illustration, it is repeated 5 times, so the frequency is 5 Hz.

A pair of a mountain and a valley is 1 Hz, and the frequency represents how many times it repeats in 1 second.

A pair of a mountain and a valley is 1 Hz, and the frequency represents how many times it repeats in 1 second.

The fact that the frequency is represented by a numerical value has a range from a low (small numerical value) frequency to a high frequency. This width is the frequency band, so to speak, the path of radio waves.

Moreover, radio waves have different characteristics depending on the frequency. Basically, the higher the frequency, the more information can be carried in a particular direction, but the harder it is to reach radio waves. On the contrary, when the frequency is low, the amount of information that can be carried is small, but the radio waves reach a wide range.

Therefore, we will use frequency bands that match the characteristics of the field of use, such as for smartphones, aviation radio, satellite broadcasting, etc., but the government (Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications) manages the allocation.

In the case of 4G (LTE), a relatively low frequency band such as 700 MHz to 3.5 GHz is allocated. This is because it is necessary to reach a wider area. In addition, low-frequency radio waves also have the property of sneaking into the back of indoors and buildings.

The allocated frequency band for each carrier is as described above. “Band” is the name of a frequency band. For example, when using a carrier’s SIM with a SIM free smartphone, communication will not be possible unless the smartphone supports the carrier’s frequency band.

In 5G, in order to perform high-speed and large-capacity communication, a frequency band higher than 4G is allocated. Specifically, there are two blocks of 3.7 GHz / 4.5 GHz band called Sub-6 (frequency band below 6 GHz band) and 28 GHz band called millimeter wave (frequency band above about 30 GHz).

Moreover, the bandwidth is wide, and Sub-6 is assigned 200 MHz width, and millimeter wave is assigned 400 MHz width. Wider bandwidth means more roadways, which means more information can be carried.

The frequency band allocated for 5G has two blocks, “Sub-6” and “millimeter wave”. “N77”, “n79”, and “n257” are names of frequency bands, and the notation has been changed from “band” of 4G (LTE)

What I would like to pay attention to is that among the 5G compatible smartphones announced this time, there are models that support only Sub-6 and models that support both Sub-6 and millimeter waves. The fact that frequency is important when selecting a model is due to such differences in correspondence.

As an example, “Galaxy S20 5G” supports only Sub-6, “Galaxy S20 + 5G” supports both Sub-6 and millimeter wave (from au website)

However, there is no need to worry so much at present. This is because the base station is currently being deployed with Sub-6 as the main stage.

Due to the characteristics of the frequency band used in 5G, it is difficult for radio waves to reach far away, and it is blocked by obstacles such as buildings. This characteristic is more noticeable in millimeter waves, which are higher frequency bands, and Sub-6, which is closer to the 4G (LTE) frequency band, is easier to deploy.

Even so, it is necessary to install more base stations in order to reach a wide range of radio waves due to the characteristics of 5G. This is why 5G compatible areas are limited to spots.

In addition, the 3.7GHz / 4.5GHz band and the 28GHz band are also shared with satellite communication, so communication interference easily occurs due to radio wave interference, and it seems difficult to adjust them.

Therefore, in the case of au and Softbank, they are trying to expand the 5G compatible area while actively utilizing the existing 4G network. That is, 5G communication is performed using the frequency for 4G. The advantage is that it is easy to expand the 5G compatible area, but it comes at the cost of the high speed and low latency that are features of 5G.

Of course, under the current circumstances, carriers cannot use the 4G frequency band for 5G. Therefore, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is planning to improve the system so that this can be done by the fall of 2020.

Also, on April 1, 2020, KDDI and SoftBank have established a joint venture, 5G JAPAN Co., Ltd., to jointly promote the early development of 5G networks in rural areas.

On the other hand, DOCOMO is thinking about deployment using base stations exclusively for 5G.

The current situation of 5G is such a situation, and it seems that it will take some time before the original performance of 5G can be enjoyed.

Of course, we’re doing our best with each carrier, so hopefully more users will be able to use 5G earlier.

Let’s experience 5G

As I have explained so far, 5G has just been serviced in and the environment is not in place, so it is not at the stage of considering a transfer immediately.

However, I would like to have an experience of what 5G is like. Therefore, we will summarize the 5G experience spot information provided by each carrier. If you are interested, why not try visiting?

・ NTT DOCOMO

Experience 5G
https://www.nttdocomo.co.jp/special_contents/5g/experiences/

Permanent exhibits and event information are posted.

・ Au

The concept shop “GINZA 456 created by KDDI” where you can experience 5G will be opened in the summer of 2020. You can experience 5G services and can also handle various mobile phones. Aiming for the finest hospitality.

・ Softbank

List of SoftBank shops where you can experience 5G LAB
https://5glab.mb.softbank.jp/?cid=5gmp_200312_mobile/special/softbank-5g/_005#info

There is a “5G LAB” experience corner at SoftBank shops in major cities across the country.

A future that will change with 5G

As I mentioned at the beginning, 5G is not just for smartphone communication environments. It is expected to be used in all industries, and many demonstration experiments are underway to create new businesses.

For example, in the field of emergency medical care, it will be possible to perform emergency surgery using high-definition video while on the move, and in the aging of agriculture, it will be possible to utilize agricultural sensors that collect information and to use drugs such as feeding robots and drones to spray drugs. Will be possible.

In the construction industry, it may be possible to survey with a drone and control construction equipment on a construction site from a remote location.

If many high-definition image sensors are installed in the city, it will be possible to grasp disaster information in the event of a disaster and to guide the victims to the optimal evacuation route.

In addition to this, various usage scenarios are envisioned and expected. Finally, I would like to introduce the web media “GO! 5G” which is published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and aims to spread the 5th generation mobile communication system.

GO! 5G
https://go5g.go.jp

Summary

It’s finally the dawn of the 5G era. Although there is a feeling that the narrowness of the correspondence area is overwhelming, the expectation value for the experience of a new sensation that will come from now is high.

In addition, 5G, which is not only a smartphone communication network but also an entity that supports social infrastructure, will have an impact on the daily lives of people from the industrial world.

In the past, the evolution of technology has made dream dreams a reality. I am looking forward to seeing what kind of society will be built in the future.

Ono Hitoshi

Ono Hitoshi

Keep in mind easy-to-understand operation explanations of hardware and software from PC to mobile. An hobby is an IT-based freelance writer who likes to climb mountains and drive cars.

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AQUOS R5G SHG01 auの製品画像
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    (Release date: March 27, 2020)

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Product image of Xperia 1 II SOG01 au
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  • Xperia 1 II SOG01 au
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    (Release date: May 2020)

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Galaxy S20+ 5G SCG02 auの製品画像
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  • Galaxy S20+ 5G SCG02 au
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    (Release date: late May 2020)

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OPPO Find X2 Pro OPG01 auの製品画像
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    (Release date: July 2020)

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ZTE a1 ZTG01 auの製品画像
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    (Release date: July 2020)

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AQUOS R5G SoftBankの製品画像
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  • AQUOS R5G SoftBank
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    (Release date: March 27, 2020)

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LG V60 ThinQ 5G SoftBank Product Image
  • LG Electronics
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    (Release date: May 11, 2020)

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Axon 10 Pro 5G SoftBank Product Image
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    (Release date: March 27, 2020)

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OPPO Reno3 5G SoftBankの製品画像
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  • OPPO Reno3 5G SoftBank
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    ( 発売日:2020年 7月下旬 )

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