Business Topics:Rakuten Mobile: Democratizing the Cellular Industry

Business Topics
Rakuten Mobile:
Democratizing the Cellular Industry

Creating the world’s first end-to-end-network and creating a revolution in the industry

Rakuten Mobile, Inc. began offering MNO (Mobile Network Operator) services in October of 2019. It was able to drastically decrease costs related to equipment investment and operations by creating the world’s first end-to-end fully virtualized cloud-native network. Because its cloud network separates hardware and software and doesn't rely on dedicated equipment, it can be easily substituted in the event of a disaster or server problem. This reduces the risk of communication failures. But what kinds of changes could a cellphone network with these characteristics bring to the cellular industry? In this section, we will focus on the possibility of Rakuten Mobile becoming the 4th major carrier in Japan.

Drawing a line between existing cellphone carriers by creating an MNO that meets customers’ demands

Rakuten Mobile announced its entry into the cellular industry in December of 2017, before being allocated a 4G mobile communication system frequency (1.7 GHz band) in April of 2018. Construction of base stations began in December of the same year. In February 2019, The company succeeded at demonstrating an end-to-end fully virtualized cloud-native network. In April of the same year, it was allocated a 5G mobile communication system frequency (3.7 GHz band and 28 GHz band). Traditional mobile communication networks require expensive, dedicated hardware. However, Rakuten Mobile’s fully virtualized, cloud-based network completely separates software and hardware. This has allowed inexpensive, general-purpose devices to be used, with software-based updates allowing for improvements in operational efficiency without the need for new hardware. This has greatly reduced costs related to equipment investment and operations. Rakuten Mobile aims to democratize the cellular industry in a way that is sure to create changes in the marketplace.

The company led the market through its introduction of MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) services. Rakuten Mobile is expanding its customer-focused services. These include the introduction of 'Super Hodai' plans that include data and unlimited 10-minute calls, and plans that do not automatically renew. It is also proactively expanding its Rakuten Mobile Shops - which now include more than 580 retail locations nationwide (as of April 2019). Rakuten Mobile’s unique method of providing parallel online and in-store contracts has the potential to create new points of contact with its customers. The big data that is produced from these points of contact is being utilized to further improve its customer experience.

An environment that allows for staff to realize their ideas and improve their careers

Rakuten Mobile’s UX Department works to comprehensively improve all points of contact with customers throughout its MVNO services, including online, offline, and through its call centers. Any valid data from these activities will also be utilized in the company’s MNO services. The Marketing & Online Sales Department promotes marketing measures and campaigns that are unique to the company by creating connections with various group services such as Rakuten Ichiba and Rakuten Card. Rakuten Mobile, which first began offering its services in 2014, has the opportunity to realize countless ideas through combining the big data it has accumulated with the massive Rakuten Ecosystem - which includes Rakuten Points and around 100 million domestic Rakuten IDs.

Rakuten Mobile also offers a wide range of positions that provide employees with plentiful opportunities to improve their careers. These could include managerial roles at Rakuten Mobile Shops, retail logistics management, UX strategy, TV and web-based marketing, or e-commerce and marketing that involves cooperating with staff from other Rakuten Group companies. The company offers an environment that allows for staff to simultaneously improve their diverse knowledge and specializations. Having network engineers work on the same floor allows for smooth discussions about business ideas with technical staff. There are also opportunities to be involved in negotiations with various partner firms such as development companies, advertising agencies, and retail management companies, allowing staff to gain directing skills and experience.

A workplace filled with the desire to make history

One of the appeals of working for Rakuten Mobile is the uniqueness of Rakuten Group. The Rakuten Group is currently expanding its economic sphere out in the world by partnering with a variety of companies through Rakuten Points, etc. However, Rakuten Mobile Shops provide Rakuten Mobile with a unique offline point of contact with customers, and the number of stores in Japan continues to grow. Having the opportunity to come into direct contact with end-users at these stores means that, despite being an IT company, direct comments from consumers can be put to direct use by store and logistics management. Being able to hear feedback from customers - such as how they like being able to use Rakuten Points to decrease their monthly cellphone bill - means that it is possible to feel the direct benefits of these policies, making for an even more rewarding career.

Working for a business that will revolutionize the cellular industry is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Although Rakuten Mobile is a major business, it has the spirit of a venture company and, even compared to other Rakuten Group companies, requires its employees to think like they’re a member of a startup. With its MNO services set to commence shortly, it is the ideal environment for employees who can quickly and independently implement new ideas. Working at Rakuten Mobile will allow you to share in the exhilarating feeling of transforming an industry and creating a business that can serve millions, all while growing as an individual. These are just some of the positive experiences that Rakuten Mobile will continue to provide to its employees.