COVID-19 has impacted the telecommunication ambitions of the Japanese e-commerce giant.
Shortly after unveiling its 4G network, Rakuten had plans to unleash its 5G network in the summer of 2020. Due to the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic, these plans are now being pushed into the fall. Supply chains have been highly affected across a multitude of industries with telecommunications being among them. Testing the network’s capabilities has also been limited due to travel restrictions.
Though details are sparse, Rakuten’s 5G network will not be ready now until September at the earliest; however, Rakuten still plans to cover most of Japan by March 2021 and believes they are still on pace to deliver 70% coverage through its network. Even working through these delays, Rakuten expects its business operations to not be affected in a major way.
“We will work to minimize the impact of the pandemic and look forward to launching our 5G service in the near future,” said Rakuten’s CTO Tareq Amin.
Rakuten was previously operating as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) and has moved into providing the service directly to customers with a goal of reaching 3 million subscribers in 2020. Partnering with NEC, Rakuten Mobile is continuing to prepare for the future by developing a 5G radio unit that it is positioning to be an intricate part of its 5G network going forward and is working with additional partners to complete the construction of its 677 base stations.
With plans to purchase Innoeye in its sight, Rakuten is moving along to secure an OSS (operations support system) to boost its networks’ cloud network. In the future, other companies within the industry can purchase information from Rakuten on what it has learned in setting up wireless networks for their own research and development needs.
Source: Fierce Wireless