At a press conference at Rakuten’s Tokyo headquarters today, Rakuten Mobile, Inc. announced the launch of its new mobile operator service with the opening of applications on October 1 for a “Free Supporter Program” that will offer voice and data services free of charge. The initial wave of the Free Supporter Program will be open to 5,000 subscribers and will be expanded in waves to welcome tens of thousands of users to the new network.

“This is an undertaking that mobile carriers and network engineers around the world have dreamt about – it’s not overstating it to say that this is the Apollo program of the mobile network industry,” commented Rakuten CEO Mickey Mikitani at the event. “From October, we will launch the world’s first fully cloud-native, software-based network service, here in Japan.”

“Free Supporter Program” – service launch

Rakuten Mobile will launch the world’s first end-to-end fully virtualized, cloud-native network. In order to ensure the stability and quality of its service for customers and to continue to improve, the company will initially open applications to 5,000 “Free Supporter Program” subscribers, who will be asked to provide feedback on the network. Open to residents of Tokyo’s 23 wards, Osaka City, Nagoya City and Kobe City, subscribers will be offered unlimited domestic calls and data, international calls from Japan, international roaming (data only) and SMS.

Plans are also in place for to open applications for regular subscriber plans online and in stores.

Meet Rakuten’s first original device: the Rakuten Mini

The Rakuten Mini: Rakuten's first original device as a mobile carrier
The Rakuten Mini

At the same event, Rakuten Chairman and CEO Mickey Mikitani unveiled the company’s first original device as a mobile carrier: the Rakuten Mini. This tiny device, at only 10.6cm by 5.3cm, weighs in at just 79g, setting new standards for the smartphone industry. The Rakuten Mini features a broad range of functions, is eSIM compatible, and will be available to Rakuten Mobile subscribers.

Rakuten Mobile also revealed its new magenta logo, chosen to represent its innovative spirit, as it aims to redefine expectations in the mobile communications industry and respond to diverse customer needs.

The Rakuten Mobile logo

Expanding network service area

Rakuten Mobile’s mobile carrier service will be available nationwide from October 2019. The company’s own network service area will cover the 23 wards of Tokyo, Nagoya City and Osaka City and parts of Hyogo prefecture. Rakuten Mobile will offer nationwide LTE services to customers from the time of launch through services based on the roaming agreement with KDDI Corporation and Okinawa Cellular Telephone Company, to be provided outside of Tokyo’s 23 wards, Nagoya City and Osaka City and excluding high traffic areas.

Rakuten ecosystem and MNO: vision for the future

With the launch of its MNO service, Rakuten Mobile will take its first step as Japan’s fourth mobile carrier. Rakuten Mobile aims to not only provide its subscribers with secure, safe and easy-to-use services, but by leveraging the Rakuten Ecosystem and the Rakuten Super Points loyalty program to offer flexible service plans and a comprehensive mobile communications service based on the deployment of the latest and most advanced technologies, Rakuten Mobile will strive to bring a new level of convenience and enjoyment to everyday lives. In addition, Rakuten Mobile aims to create a revolution in social infrastructure that will redefine industry expectations and lay the groundwork for the 5G era ahead.


For more information about the Free Supporter Program and Rakuten Mobile announcements, please see the link below: https://global.rakuten.com/corp/news/press/