Ericsson and KDDI Deploy Japan’s First Vault 5G Base Stations

Ericsson was selected by KDDI to deploy Japan's first vault 5G base stations, revolutionising urban connectivity and overcoming infrastructure challenges. The deployment of sub-terrain antennas in confined spaces enables enhanced connectivity without compromising the aesthetic appeal of urban environments.


  • KDDI's installation of Japan's first sub-terrain 5G base stations, means they are below ground level and not visible.
  • Enables construction of various types of 5G base stations with consideration for landscape and installation space saving.
  • Compact vault sites address challenges in obtaining permission for traditional outdoor antennas in densely populated locations.

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Ericsson and KDDI Deploy Japan’s First Vault 5G Base Stations

Ericsson, a global leader in telecommunications technology, has been selected by KDDI, one of Japan's leading communication service providers, as a partner for Japan's first-ever vault 5G base stations. This collaboration aims to revolutionise urban connectivity by deploying "manhole-shaped" base stations with sub-terrain antennas, offering an innovative solution for urban infrastructure deployment.

Also Read: KDDI Starts Deployment of 5G Open vRAN Sites in Japan

Addressing Infrastructure Deployment Challenges

The vault base stations developed by KDDI, in collaboration with Ericsson, offer a unique approach to address the challenges faced in the deployment of mobile communication infrastructure in Japan's urban areas.

Traditionally, base stations have been installed on steel towers and rooftops in Japan, but limitations imposed on scenic areas have made it difficult to expand coverage while preserving the aesthetic appeal of the environment, according to Ericsson.

Regulatory Advancements for Vault Base Stations

To overcome these challenges, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) in Japan introduced radio wave protection guidelines for vault base stations in July 2021. This regulatory development paved the way for the construction and operation of underground base stations, opening up new possibilities for efficient infrastructure deployment.

Also Read: Ericsson Upgrades Its Private 5G Network Solution

Ericsson's Sub-Terrain Antennas

Ericsson's sub-terrain antennas play a key role in this innovative solution. The antennas are designed to be installed underground, leveraging existing assets such as optical fibre and electric power infrastructure.

This approach allows for the installation of landscape-friendly vault 5G base stations, minimizing visual impact and streamlining the permit process. By utilising confined spaces such as manholes, Ericsson's antennas provide optimal radiating characteristics (MIMO) while being less susceptible to wind load.

Also Read: Ericsson and Telia Launch First Enterprise 5G Private Network in the Baltics

First in Japan to Launch Vault 5G Base Stations

According to the statement, KDDI has become the first communications service provider in Japan to launch vault 5G base stations, as announced on March 9, 2023. The partnership with Ericsson signifies a major milestone in the country's telecommunications landscape, marking a significant shift towards efficient and visually unobtrusive urban infrastructure.

Optimizing Existing Underground Space

The deployment of vault solutions not only optimizes the use of existing underground space but also addresses the challenges posed by dense urban scenarios where obtaining site permission for traditional outdoor antennas can be challenging.

Compact underground sites can now be seamlessly integrated into streets, squares, and shopping areas, providing enhanced connectivity without compromising the aesthetic appeal of the surroundings.

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Telecom Analyst

Passionately following the Indian #Telecom Industry for over a decade from Business, Consumer and a Technical perspective. My primary focus area is Consumer & Digital Experience.

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