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5G networks

Facebook and KDDI to partner in 5G business

Companies to develop AR and VR sales system for retailers

Japanese telecoms are finding new ways to take advantage of 5G networks. (Nikkei Montage)

TOKYO -- Facebook is set to work with telecom KDDI to develop content targeting the Japanese market in a move aimed at tapping a growing market after the rollout of 5G mobile networks.

The two plan on introducing a real-time sales system that uses augmented reality and virtual reality, taking advantage of 5G's increased bandwidth and high speed.

The partnership shows that Japan's leading telecoms are expanding beyond content streaming to form tie-ups with American technology companies in preparation for the 5G era.

Japan's KDDI and SoftBank plan to launch 5G services in March 2020 followed by NTT Docomo around the same time.

The sales system will first be offered to clothing stores and drugstores by Facebook's Japanese subsidiary and KDDI as soon as 5G is up and running.

Using a smartphone, customers can virtually try on makeup before they buy, similar to Facebook's test AR system pictured above.

Customers will be able to use computer-generated images to see how they look with selected cosmetics or clothes before they buy. Using a smartphone and the Instagram app, customers take a photo of a product on display, then digitally apply it to their face or body. If they like the look, they can purchase the product on the spot, choosing from different colors, sizes and other options.

To showcase AR technology, the two companies plan to open a shop in Tokyo as early as next January that allows customers to view details of a product on display just by snapping a picture of it.

KDDI will handle the system's cloud and communications technology while Facebook will contribute its VR and AR expertise.

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