Rakuten Mobile Network, a Rakuten Group company, has announced that a resolution was passed on 28 March 2019 to change the corporate name to Rakuten Mobile, effective 1 April 2019. In the press release regarding the matter, Japan’s new fourth mobile network operator (MNO) confirmed it was adopting a ‘simplified corporate name’ ahead of its planned commercial launch in October 2019; the change also affects its existing mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) business which ‘the company will take over in line with the group reorganisation by a corporate split’ effective 1 April 2019. Going forward, Rakuten Mobile says it ‘aims to provide an appealing and convenient experience that meets the needs of customers’.
The newcomer received approval for its ‘Special Base Station Deployment Plan’ in April 2018 and aims to launch its first services as an MNO in October 2019. It has carried out 5G trials in partnership with Nokia and Intel as it prepares to shift from being an MVNO to building out its own network, and in February this year selected Nokia to build the new mobile network. The vendor will provide full turnkey services to plan, manage, deploy and integrate cloud RAN, AirGile cloud-native core network technology and several Nokia software functions. The new distributed cloud network, along with Nokia and Rakuten’s work to automate the network build and deployment process, should help reduce network operation costs and enhance operational efficiencies. Previously, in June 2018, Rakuten had used the Nokia AirScale base station and the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform for the technology trial in Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan to evaluate fundamental 5G capabilities in the 28GHz frequency band.