On October 29, 2014, we took our first steps in disrupting the mobile communications industry and launched Rakuten Mobile.

Around the world, Japan is known for its high living costs, and mobile phones are no exception. With monthly smartphone bills of over 6,500 yen, it is one of most expensive markets in the world, and a market that we saw an opportunity to disrupt. If we would offer the same high level of service at a fraction of the cost (which in this case is one third!), we could really change the mobile communications industry in Japan, and reduce the burden on the customer. That was the start of Rakuten Mobile.

The new Rakuten Mobile Store in Ginza

The new Rakuten Mobile Store in Ginza

Over the past year, we have grown a lot. We’ve expanded our lineup and are now offering all sorts of devices, including smartphones, tablets and wi-fi routers. In response to our customers requests, we’ve also expanded our presence in the offline world as well. Starting with consultation counters in two Rakuten CAFE branches in Tokyo, we now have five dedicated stores in Osaka, Sendai, Kobe, Nagoya and Ginza in Tokyo. (In fact, our Ginza store was opened today by Yasufumi Hirai, the head of the Rakuten Mobile business.) You can also now apply for Rakuten Mobile at certain home appliance stores as well.

Those of you in Japan may have seen our commercials with the famous Japanese soccer player Keisuke Honda. The tagline for the commercials is “真っ向勝負 (Makkou Shoubu)” or “stand squarely in the face of challenges” in English, and this is exactly what we are doing. It will take a lot to change the mobile communications industry, but we think we have what it takes to do it!

If you’d like to learn more about Rakuten Mobile, make sure you visit their site here! (Japanese only)