Japanese carrier Rakuten Mobile said it attracted over 3.9 million applications for its mobile service since it launched its 4G offering one year ago.
The telco launched a new promotional campaign to attract more subscribers. This campaign offers the Rakuten UN-LIMIT VI service plan to customers free of charge for the first three months of service.
The total number of Rakuten Mobile contracts, including MVNO contracts, has now reached 4.5 million.
“Since full-scale commercial launch of its mobile service in April 2020, Rakuten Mobile has carried out various measures to improve the quality of its service, including upgrading the service plan, expanding its network area, and increasing the number of Rakuten Mobile shops and lineup of original devices and products compatible with its network,” the telco said in a release.
Rakuten Mobile had deployed over 11,500 base stations for a population coverage of 73.5%. The Japanese operator aims to increase this coverage to 96% by the middle of the year.
Rakuten Mobile’s total obligation, agreed upon with the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), is to deploy 15,787 sub-6 GHz base stations and 7,948 mmWave base stations. The carrier had agreed to deploy at least 667 sub-6 GHz and 441 mmWave base stations by the end of March 2021.
In September 2020, Rakuten Mobile launched 5G services in parts of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Hokkaido, Osaka and Hyogo. The service is being initially offered via Non-Stand Alone (NSA) 5G architecture.
Rakuten Mobile’s President Yoshihisa Yamada had previously said that the operator was expecting the 5G to be available in Japan’s all 47 prefectures by end-March 2021.
Yamada had also said that Rakuten Mobile expected to launch a Stand-Alone 5G network in the second quarter of 2021.
In June 2020, Rakuten Mobile and NEC Corporation announced that the two companies had reached an agreement to jointly develop the containerized standalone (SA) 5G core network (5GC) to be used in Rakuten Mobile’s fully virtualized cloud native 5G network.
Under the terms of the deal, Rakuten Mobile and NEC said they will develop the containerized SA 5G mobile core to be made available on the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP).
Rakuten’s platform contains all the elements of the Rakuten Mobile network, including telco applications and software from multiple vendors, OSS and BSS systems handling customer billing and activation systems, in addition to edge computing and virtual network management functions.
RCP is aimed at offering solutions and services for the deployment of virtualized networks at speed and low cost by telecom companies, enterprises and governments around the world, the telco said.