Rakuten Mobile, Inc. announced expansion to up to an additional 20,000 participants with the opening of the second wave of the “Free Supporter Program” launched in October 2019. Based on the feedback and requests of a broader base of program participants, Rakuten will accelerate preparations for the full launch of its revolutionary mobile services with the world’s first end-to-end fully virtualized cloud-native network.
Offering voice and data services free of charge to approximately 5,000 subscribers since launch, customer feedback through the Free Supporter Program has allowed Rakuten Mobile to make numerous improvements to its service, including the expansion of the mobile network service area. Steady progress is being made on the buildout of 4G base stations, with more than 3,000 now on air as of January 2020, and the total number set to exceed the March 2020 target approved by the Ministry for Internal Affairs and Communications.
The second wave of the program will include the launch of a beta version of new original dialing app “Rakuten Link” for calling, texting and messaging to all program participants. Services will continue to expand with the commencement of in-store contract applications at six major stores, including the new flagship Rakuten Mobile Ebisu Store launched today with a completely new fresh design, and in-store sales of the Rakuten Mini, Rakuten Mobile’s first original device, exclusively to program participants.
Rakuten Mobile is on track to launch full commercial services in April of this year. The new network architecture allows flexible deployment of new services and lays the groundwork for simple and speedy implementation of 5G. With substantial reduction of capital investment and operation costs, it also allows the operator to pass on significant savings to customers. Rakuten Mobile will continue to incorporate customer feedback into the improvement of services in preparation for full commercial launch.