Rakuten Mobile holds a 51% interest in Rakuten Mobile Infrastructure Solutions, while Tepco owns the remainder
Japanese operator Rakuten Mobile has established a joint venture company with Tokyo Electric Power Grid (Tepco), with the aim of deploying base stations on the power company’s network assets.
The telco said that the new partnership will enable the expansion of its current 4G and 5G infrastructure in a more efficient way.
Under the terms of the partnership, Rakuten Mobile holds a 51% interest in Rakuten Mobile Infrastructure Solutions, while Tepco owns the remainder.
The firm also noted that Rakuten Mobile Infrastructure Solutions, which began operating on July 1, has an initial nominal value of JPY300 million ($2.2 million).
“Rakuten Mobile Infrastructure Solutions will further improve the efficiency of base station maintenance by effectively utilizing public assets to expand Rakuten Mobile’s network, developing installation specifications for Rakuten Mobile’s base station equipment, and managing installation work,” Rakuten Mobile said in a release. “Rakuten Mobile is utilizing some power assets as one of the options for rapid network construction while achieving the 4G population coverage rate of the Rakuten line area about four years ahead of schedule. With the establishment of this new company, we will further expand the area of 4G/5G networks, promote the density of base stations, and strengthen the development of communication infrastructure with the aim of providing stable services. In addition, we will improve the cost efficiency of base station maintenance by utilizing existing power assets.”
In March 2018, Rakuten Mobile inked an agreement to make use of Tepco’s steel towers, power distribution poles, building roofs and other infrastructure.
In October 2021, Rakuten Mobile and compatriot firm JTower had entered a capital alliance with the aim of sharing infrastructure in indoors and outdoors environments, Under the terms of the deal, the two companies will share equipment and towers to boost the development of 4G and 5G networks across Japan.
Rakuten Mobile previously said it 4G network reached 97% of the country’s population as of the end of the first quarter of the year.
In its earnings statement, the telco said that the total number of outdoor 4G base stations surpassed 44,000 as of the end of April 2022, while indoor coverage has also expanded as the number of compact antennas for indoor use nationwide reached 40,000 units as of March 2022.
Rakuten Mobile also reported that the total number of subscriptions for the MNO and MVNO services surpassed 5.68 million as of the end of Q1 2022.
In September 2020, Rakuten Mobile launched 5G services in parts of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Hokkaido, Osaka and Hyogo. The service was initially offered via Non-Stand Alone (NSA) 5G architecture.