NTT DOCOMO has set a goal of 2.5 million 5G connections in the next year. It expects 20 million in 2022 or 2023. It has 500 upgraded towers and rapidly will cover more than half the country. 40,000 signed up in the first few weeks.
Capex guidance for the year is 570 billion yen, US$5.35 billion. That's far below the 2017 figure of 643 billion yen, $6 billion. That's consistent with Deutsche Telekom, Verizon, AT&T, and FT/Orange, all building 5G without a significant capex increase.
Softbank and KDDI also have launched some 5G service. Softbank intends to reach 90% of the population in Q1 2022. They are doing competitive builds in the cities but working together in rural areas.
Rakuten, the extremely innovative 4th carrier, intended to turn on 5G in June but is behind schedule.