Rakuten Mobile reaches coverage target for its 4G network

Japanese operator Rakuten Mobile announced that the population coverage ratio for its 4G network has reached 96%.

Rakuten Mobile noted that the goal had been reached four years ahead of the target set when it initially outlined its deployment plan. This plan had been approved in April 2018 by the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC).

Rakuten Mobile launched its first commercial services in April 2020. At launch, the telco had a population coverage ratio of 23.4%.

“The efficiency of the base station rollout has been dramatically enhanced by the network architecture of Rakuten Mobile’s world-first fully virtualized, cloud-native mobile network. This has allowed the operator to deploy simple and compact base stations and leverage technologies such as AI to find sites for base stations and drones to carry out base station site and completion inspections,” Rakuten Mobile said in a release. “Building from the ground up, Rakuten Mobile has expanded its network from the 23 wards of Tokyo, Osaka City and Nagoya City at the time of launch to nationwide coverage and continues to improve the quality of its service. In addition to building strong partnerships with the construction companies working on the base station buildout, the entire Rakuten Group has worked as one to secure sites for base stations, contributing to the rapid expansion of the network area.”

Rakuten Mobile said it will continue to expand network coverage and increase base station density to further improve the quality of its service across the country.

In September 2020, Rakuten Mobile launched 5G services in parts of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Hokkaido, Osaka and Hyogo. The service was initially offered via Non-Stand Alone (NSA) 5G architecture.

Rakuten Mobile and compatriot firm NEC had previously announced that the two companies had reached an agreement to jointly develop the containerized standalone (SA) 5G core network (5GC) to be used in Rakuten Mobile’s fully virtualized cloud native 5G network.

Under the terms of the deal, Rakuten Mobile and NEC said they will develop the containerized SA 5G mobile core to be made available on the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP).

Rakuten’s platform contains all the elements of the Rakuten Mobile network, including telco applications and software from multiple vendors, OSS and BSS systems handling customer billing and activation systems, in addition to edge computing and virtual network management functions.

In October 2021, Rakuten Mobile and compatriot firm JTower had entered a capital alliance with the aim of sharing infrastructure in indoors and outdoors environments, Under the terms of the deal, the two companies will share equipment and towers to boost the development of 4G and 5G networks across Japan.

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