Rakuten Mobile has announced a launch campaign offering 3 million subscribers the first full year of service free of monthly fees starting from the first day of their contract to confirm the robustness of its new mobile network. Rakuten first entered the domestic mobile market in October 2014 as an MVNO, but has since opted to move to MNO status, and was expected to launch its commercial network in October 2019.
However, it was forced to push back the full launch of its revolutionary mobile service with the world’s first end-to-end fully virtualized cloud-native network in Japan. The full service will launch on April 8, with applications to switch to the new plan for subscribers of the Free Supporter Program and existing Rakuten Mobile MVNO service users, in addition to MNP (mobile number portability) contracts for those switching from other carriers also being accepted online and in-store from that day.
The innovative network architecture allows for substantial reductions in capital investment and operation costs, enabling the operator to pass on these savings to subscribers through this simple and affordable service plan. The architecture also enables flexible deployment of new services and lays the groundwork for the low cost and speedy implementation of 5G.
Rakuten Mobile aims to offer comprehensive communications services combining flexible service plans and cutting-edge technology, while leveraging synergies with the Rakuten Ecosystem and Rakuten Points loyalty program, to continue to improve services for subscribers.
The “Rakuten UN-LIMIT” plan, a new mobile carrier service plan available for 2,980 yen (US$28) per month offers both unlimited data within Rakuten network areas and unlimited domestic calls with the use of Rakuten Link, the communication app developed by Rakuten.
Subscribers can enjoy unlimited data use within the Rakuten network service areas and 2GB of data per month within the service areas provided by both domestic and overseas Rakuten partners. With use of the Rakuten Link app, all calls and text messages within Japan, as well as calls and text messages from overseas to Japan, will also be free of charge. Additionally, an optional international calling service offering unlimited international calls from Japan to overseas as well as calls between overseas locations will be available for a monthly fee of 980 yen (US$9) starting April 8.
Rakuten Mobile was expected to launch with aggressive plans but these offers surpassed expectations and will, no doubt, have rivals spinning.