Will Rakuten Mobile Fail?

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By Dimitris Mavrakis | 1Q 2021 | IN-6066


Why Has Rakuten Launched Mobile?


Rakuten Mobile has been the interest of every single telco stakeholder globally after its announcement to deploy an open network in a saturated market in 2018. The parent company, Rakuten, Inc., is a global conglomerate with revenues on the order of US$ billions annually with operations in Japan and Europe, and investments in many different companies. Rakuten is dubbed the “Amazon of Japan” and operates a loyalty scheme, where its customers are rewarded with points when using the group services. Rakuten offers credit cards, cashless payment services, e-commerce, and most recently, mobile network services.

Rakuten has been established as a strong brand in Japan since the early 21st century, and its decision to launch a mobile network arm is a logical next step to control its user experience, while ensuring that subscribers remain within its “walled garden” and continue to accumulate loyalty points. Rakuten has implemented very aggressive price points that start from zero fees: their first subscribers would receive free service for a year, followed by very comp…

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