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Tokyo 2020 events to be live-streamed in VR over 5G network: NTT Docomo pres.

NTT Docomo President Kazuhiro Yoshizawa (Mainichi)

Mobile carrier NTT Docomo Inc. is aiming to roll out a 5th generation (5G) mobile network in time to live-stream Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic events to virtual reality (VR) headsets, company president Kazuhiro Yoshizawa told the Mainichi Shimbun in a May 25 interview.

    "We want to offer services revolving around 5G networks that will revolutionize existing lifestyles," Yoshizawa said.

    Docomo is considering launching high-definition broadcasts of Olympic and Paralympic events for smartphones. With the use of 5G networks, which can stream data 15 times faster than current 4G technology, smoother image distribution will be possible. In addition, when viewed with a virtual reality headset connected to a smartphone, users will be able to see the events as if they were at the venues themselves.

    For example, if video filmed with cameras attached to a referee in a soccer or rugby match is sent out on a 5G network, viewers can enjoy the feeling of being on the field. For marathons, Docomo is considering providing visuals filmed with cameras moving along the roadside and keeping pace with the runners.

    The company also aims to apply 5G networks to self-driving vehicles and remote medical treatment.

    Yoshizawa said, "5G networks will be the infrastructure for new industries." He also revealed his company's plan to introduce discount smartphone plans for customers aged 65 and older by fall 2017. Because many elderly people still use flip phones, the company is looking to urge customers in that demographic to upgrade to smartphones with discount plans.

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