Rakuten Cell immediately launched its 5G service in components of six prefectures in Japan, and in conjunction it introduced a brand new Rakuten 5G smartphone. The 5G launch was initially planned for June, however the firm delayed it because of Covid-19.

The 5G service, referred to as Rakuten Un-Restrict V, will likely be obtainable for a similar $28.22 month-to-month charge because the operator’s current 4G wi-fi service. Just like 5G rollouts in the US, subscribers of Rakuten’s 4G service will have the ability to use the 5G companies for no extra value. 

As well as, Rakuten is providing a promotion of free 4G/5G service for one 12 months to the primary three million subscribers who join.

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Mickey Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten Cell, mentioned, “At the moment Rakuten Cell takes one other step ahead to remodel the cell trade: We’re providing prospects 4G and 5G mixed in a single easy plan – Rakuten Un-Restrict V – on the similar low worth as 4G.”

The corporate additionally immediately unveiled its new 5G smartphone “Rakuten Huge.” Clients who wish to entry the corporate’s 5G community can use the Rakuten Huge or the Sharp Aquos R5G smartphone that went on sale in June.

Its 5G prospects can count on to get 870 Mbps on the downlink, and Rakuten expects that pace to achieve 2.8 Gbps within the close to future.

Of Rakuten’s 5G entrance within the Japanese aggressive panorama, analysts at New Road Analysis wrote, “Given Japanese incumbents charging a small premium for 5G, this represents a slight intensification of Rakuten’s aggressive presence. The corporate has additionally introduced the launch of their very own 5G handset, Rakuten Huge for $650. There is just one different 5G handset supported. Given Rakuten’s lack of high-end smartphones we predict the impression on the incumbents will likely be restricted.”


Yoshi Yamada, president of Rakuten Cell, mentioned in a press convention immediately that the 5G service is on the market “in components of six prefectures.” The corporate plans to constantly increase the protection space and to have 5G in at the least components of all 47 prefectures in Japan by March 2021.

The roadmap requires 5G standalone (SA) by the center of 2021, that means that 5G companies will not depend on the 4G core community.

The 5G roll-out comes lower than six months since Rakuten’s business launch of its 4G service in April 2020.

Rakuten mentioned in late June that it had garnered a million subscribers, and it didn’t replace that quantity immediately. However its provide of free service to the following three million subscribers offers a sign that it’s strongly motivated to signal individuals up.

RELATED: Rakuten touts 1M mobile signups, expands RCP reach with international HQ

The community

Rakuten Cell constructed a greenfield absolutely virtualized cell community. And the corporate says the community structure permits for substantial reductions in capital funding and working prices. However some analysts have expressed concern about Rakuten’s prospects for profitability.

The New Road Analysts wrote in August that they don’t count on Rakuten Cell to generate significant revenues till at the least the third quarter of 2021. “The one rationale for cell losses to come back down is for opex to fall,” wrote the analysts. “However by the tip of 2021 Rakuten should greater than double the dimensions of the community, roughly triple the shopper base, signal a take care of Apple for the iPhone and launch 5G. It will subsequently be shocking if opex have been to say no.”

Rakuten Cell’s CTO Tareq Amin didn’t handle any monetary issues in immediately’s press convention. However he’s tremendous excited concerning the community’s expertise. He mentioned, “5G is about radio. And this has grow to be the most well liked, most debated matter within the trade. We should take a little bit of credit score about what we’ve carried out. We have now innovated an structure that was proprietary, that was closed and completely unwilling to evolve into an open RAN platform. We have now pushed a dialogue on this planet concerning the necessity of open RAN structure.”

RELATED: Rakuten is building a 3.7 GHz massive MIMO 5G radio with NEC

Rakuten labored with NEC to develop a large MIMO 5G radio, manufactured by NEC at its amenities in Japan.

Amin mentioned the companions “unlocked the thriller round radio,” and that Rakuten’s radio “just isn’t a proprietary field.” The huge MIMO radio is deployed in manufacturing in Rakuten’s community. He mentioned the Sub-6 GHz radio is inbuilt partnership with NEC and Intel.

The corporate’s mmWave radio is inbuilt partnership with Airspan and Qualcomm.