Rakuten Chairman and CEO Hiroshi "Mickey" Mikitani speaks at a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday. Photo: Rakuten Mobile
tech

Rakuten launches 5G network for ¥2,980 per month

21 Comments
By Aaron Baggett

Rakuten Mobile Inc announced on Wednesday that it would be launching its 5G service for ¥2,980 per month.

Called Rakuten Un-Limit V, the flat-rate plan is the same price as Rakuten's current 4G service, Rakuten UN-LIMIT, and will be offered at no extra charge. Current Rakuten users with a 5G enabled device may switch to the plan immediately using the Rakuten Mobile App or be upgraded automatically between Oct 12 and Nov 30.

The 5G coverage area includes Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Osaka, Hyogo and Hokkaido. All 47 prefectures are planned by March 2021.

Rakuten Chairman and CEO Hiroshi "Mickey" Mikitani said that soaring mobile rates have become a national topic and that Rakuten Mobile is more than 70 percent cheaper than its competitors.

"Simply put, on top of 4G, 5G can be used free of charge," said Mikitani. "In 5G areas, whatever the speed, you can use all the data that you can."

Major mobile companies in Japan charge monthly rates exceeding ¥7,000 and fees for using 5G. In 2019, weak pricing competition prompted Japan's government to implement a bill to cut mobile phone fees and encourage its saturated market.

Rakuten believes if more users join Rakuten Mobile, mobile prices, in general, could lower to match.

Executive Vice President and CTO Tareq Amin said Rakuten could offer such competitive rates due to reducing the cost of its mobile base stations.

"We have innovated an architecture that was proprietary [and] absolutely unwilling to evolve," said Amin. 

"We think this is the most crucial component for industry disruption. And we wholeheartedly believe that this is just the beginning of what you're going to see with Rakuten and others as we embrace into this technology."

Along with its 4g/5G flat-rate plan, Rakuten announced "Rakuten Big," its first 5G enabled smartphone. The phone, priced at ¥69,800, features a 6.9-inch screen, a Snapdragon 765G processor, 6GB of ram, 128GB of storage, and a 64mp camera.

Rakuten Big went on sale from Wednesday and is available from Rakuten's online store and the Rakuten Mobile store in Futako-Tamagawa.

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21 Comments
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Sweet!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In 5G areas, whatever the speed, you can use all the data that you can."

Sure....

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Major mobile companies in Japan charge monthly rates exceeding ¥7,000 and fees for using 5G. Rakuten believes

Those major mobile companies that set usually set high price now are in trouble to adjust their business.

if more users join Rakuten Mobile, mobile prices, in general, could lower to match.

Most people love to use this with their Rakuten point.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Great sounding plan, but I'm wary of being lumbered by a "Rakuten Big" handset, LOL. I'd need one made by an established manufacturer: iPhone, Samsung, Pixel, LG, etc. How does one acquire one of those instead, I wonder? Thru Rakuten or independently?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Rakuten needs to focus more on acquiring spectrum. Most of their network is roaming which limits what you can do based their own plans. As for 5G, they have it available at 1 building in the entire Hyogo area.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Great!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

JJ says it, the issue here is coverage. So long as Rakuten is buying bandwidth from someone else, the user experience during busy periods in the city can be poor. Think thousands of students, OLs, and salarymen watching Youtube on their commute or in their 12-1 lunchhour.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Guy using Rakuten for a long time now,

Great sounding plan, but I'm wary of being lumbered by a "Rakuten Big" handset, LOL. I'd need one made by an established manufacturer: iPhone, Samsung, Pixel, LG, etc. How does one acquire one of those instead, I wonder? Thru Rakuten or independently?

Like any other carrier here, you can buy phones from Rakuten other than the Rakuten Big.

https://network.mobile.rakuten.co.jp/product/?l-id=area_5g_product

I'm sure they'll get more 5G compatible phones.

JJ says it, the issue here is coverage. So long as Rakuten is buying bandwidth from someone else, the user experience during busy periods in the city can be poor. Think thousands of students, OLs, and salarymen watching Youtube on their commute or in their 12-1 lunchhour.

As a staunch user of Rakuten, I haven't had any issues with their partner areas. They've partnered with AU, so you get the same speeds as AU customers for up to 5GB a month. If you go over that, you get throttled

2 ( +4 / -2 )

While Rakuten does have attractive, to-the-point advertising, their fine print details will result in a customer service nightmare.

Aside from having the least 5G coverage in Japan (limited areas of 2 Tokyo wards, and nonexistent outside of major cities) Rakuten’s unlimited data plan only works in Rakuten service areas (once again, extremely limited).

Outside of the Rakuten service zones, data usage is limited to 5GB per month, and costs 1,200Y for each additional GB. Phone calls outside of Rakuten coverage areas also cost 3 times more than the big3 (AU, Docomo, SB).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Dear Rakuten,

What are you doing? Are you awake?

Huawei suffering badly because of USA.

All the deals around the world are going to SAMSUNG! They have signed a 6.6 Billion dollar deal with Verizon in America to build 5G.

What are you doing?..... How come you didn't compete for that deal? Letting S. Korea and Samsung take everything!

Japanese companies have lost their ability to compete worldwide. Pacifist, herbivor, weak, unwilling to compete anymore!

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Unlimited data is never unlimited. That's a clickbait.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@ksteer

As a staunch user of Rakuten, I haven't had any issues with their partner areas. They've partnered with AU, so you get the same speeds as AU customers for up to 5GB a month. If you go over that, you get throttled

I considered moving to them from Docomo. I have a 60GB per month plan with Docomo. Rakuten is unlimited. I use 40GB per month. But they top out at 5GB when roaming and then it drops to 2G speeds. I live in Kobe. Their network was almost nonexistent. So where you live may not have problems. But my area would. I would only be roaming if I use them.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I hope its not one of those deals where the first contract is cheap then they hike up the costs when you renew

5 ( +5 / -0 )

gaicuckojinToday  11:28 am JST

I hope its not one of those deals where the first contract is cheap then they hike up the costs when you renew

what in today’s prices ever goes down? Heck, even the minimum wage is going up ¥1-3, and that’s even outside the expensive city of Tokyo!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

wage is going up ¥1-3, and that’s even outside the expensive city of Tokyo!

1-3 yennies! I'm rich B1#ch, now I can go from sukiya to yoshinoya, were moving on up! next up Minato Ku.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In in! As long as the software doesn’t have a back door to USA.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I am a Rakuten Mobile sim only customer. Please be aware of the small print...

Breaking down Rakuten UN-LIMIT.......

Rakuten UN-LIMIT aims to offer subscribers a mobile plan that is simple, straightforward and easy-to-use for all subscribers, both in Japan and overseas. For a monthly fee of 2,980 yen, 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

5G, and that 2GB limit approaches quickly, as the film/data is streaming in HD.

https://rakuten.today/tech-innovation/rakuten-mobile-announces-unlimited-mobile-carrier-plan.html

Unlimited? .....cynical old me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I pay more than that, and I don't have 5G.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One thing I find infuriating, is the manner in which these “executives” in shouty, right on trainers, and lairy T-Shirts, rush on stage, offering pots of gold at the end of an illusionary 5G rainbow.

They might as well be selling double glazing, fire extinguishers, or cheap wall cladding.

There is a multitude of hidden stipulations, and provisos.

"Do not trust the horse, Trojans. Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts."

The same could be said for mobile phone operators.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

At those prices they are clearly using China tech

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The limits are simply set by the reception capabilities of us. You probably can download your wanted blockbuster movie in some seconds now, but will always need the same 1hr.30min plus x to watch it, similar with data packages , PDF etc. It all makes not so much sense, so it finally can only be sold or promoted to us ‘stupid’ user masses , if it comes cheap or free. It’s at least a rather dead business model soon or in the long run, although everyone uses those phones, tablet computers and alike.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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