Rakuten Announces Plan to Become Japan's Fourth Mobile Carrier (News)

Economy

Tokyo, Dec. 14 (Jiji Press)—Rakuten Inc. said Thursday that it aims to become Japan's fourth mobile carrier with its own communications infrastructure, hoping to launch services in 2019.

The major cybermall operator will apply for frequency band allocation for the fourth-generation mobile communications service with the communications ministry as early as next month.

The existing three carriers are NTT Docomo Inc., KDDI Corp., which offers mobile services under the AU brand, and Softbank Group Corp.

Rakuten plans to invest up to ¥600 billion to establish its wireless communications infrastructure, including base stations, hoping to win more than 15 million subscribers.

Previously, Softbank led industry competition chiefly through fee discounts. The market is now dominated by the three carriers, and the momentum of competition has waned, informed sources said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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