Rakuten confirms 8 April launch date

4 Mar 2020

Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and President, Rakuten Inc, said yesterday (3 March) that the company’s wireless arm Rakuten Mobile will commence full-scale mobile network operator (MNO) services on 8 April. Japan’s new fourth MNO reportedly plans to charge less than half the fees of its big three rivals when it kicks off full operations, with sources close to the matter saying that it is considering a plan costing JPY2,980 (USD27.6) per month, compared to JPY6,980 for NTT DOCOMO’s high data usage plan, or JPY7,480 for similar service plans from KDDI and SoftBank.

The newcomer is already providing its free mobile service to some three million users in Japan as part of pre-launch tests to confirm the robustness of its new mobile network. Rakuten, which first entered the domestic mobile market in October 2014 as an MVNO, but has since opted to move to MNO status, had expected to launch its commercial network in October 2019, but was forced to push back its schedule amid problems in installing new base stations.

Japan, Rakuten Mobile