January 23, 2020
  • Rakuten Mobile, Inc.

Rakuten Mobile Opens Second Wave of Free Supporter Program: Adding 20,000 Participants

- Expansion of services includes new Rakuten Link dialing app beta version, refreshed store design, instore contract services in six major stores, and eSIM smartphone Rakuten Mini launch -

Tokyo, January 23, 2020 – Rakuten Mobile, Inc. announced expansion to up to an additional 20,000 participants*1 with the opening of the second wave of the “Free Supporter Program*2” 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*3.

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.


1. Free Supporter Program second wave - outline
Overview of the program*4

Application period
From 1 p.m. on January 23, 2020 until 9:59 a.m. on February 3, 2020
How to apply Applications can be made through the dedicated Free Supporter Program page on the Rakuten Mobile site
Contract registration period After receiving a notification email, applicants can register their contract details until 23:59 on February 14, 2020
Where to register contract details - On the Free Supporter Program page on the Rakuten Mobile site
- At six Rakuten Mobile stores (Shibuya-dori Store, Ikebukuro Higashiguchi Store, Ebisu Store, Nagoya Sakai Store, Shinsaibashi Store, Kobe Sannomiya Store) (NEW)
Rewards for subscribers

- Subscribers who purchase a device compatible with the Rakuten Mobile network will be awarded 18,000 Rakuten Super Points

Subscribers who share feedback with be awarded 1,000 points for each month feedback is provided

Eligible participants - Residents of Tokyo’s 23 wards, Osaka City, Nagoya City, Kobe City
- 18 years of age or above
- New contracts or MNP contracts
- The second wave of the program is open to up to 20,000 applicants (NEW)
Service

- Unlimited domestic calls and data, international calls from Japan, international roaming (data only) and texting (SMS)
- Rakuten Link beta version (NEW)
    - domestic and international calls
    - text messaging, group chat
    - sharing of images, videos and location information

Conditions - Provision of feedback on network quality
- Use of a mobile device compatible with the Rakuten Mobile network
- Use of the Rakuten Link dialing app (NEW)

Applications for the second round of the Free Supporter Program will be accepted from 1 p.m. on January 23 until 9:59 a.m. on February 3 on the dedicated Free Supporter Program page on the Rakuten Mobile site*5. After the end of the application period, notification emails containing details of the contract application process will be sent to the first 20,000 applicants, with applicants who had previously applied for the initial round of the Free Supporter Program being given priority*6.

Applicants who receive the notification email will be asked to complete the contract process through either the dedicated site listed in the notification email or at one of six Rakuten Mobile stores by 11:59 p.m. on February 14 to participate in the program. New subscribers who also purchase a Rakuten Mobile compatible device will be awarded 18,000 Rakuten Super Points and can receive an additional 1,000 Rakuten Super Points each month for the duration of the program for using the service including Rakuten Link and sharing feedback on the network*7.

About the Free Supporter Program (Japanese only):
https://network.mobile.rakuten.co.jp/plan/supporter-program/

About Rakuten Link

Rakuten Link is a dialing app developed by Rakuten Mobile based on the international RCS (Rich Communication Services) standards. Unlike other messaging apps which commonly require users to have the app installed to be able to communicate with each other, Rakuten Link allows users to make domestic and international calls to both mobile phones and fixed lines, as well as send texts and messages to mobile phones in Japan and overseas.

The Rakuten Link app beta version will be available on Google Play to participants in the Free Supporter Program from Thursday January 23.

About Rakuten Link (Japanese only):
https://network.mobile.rakuten.co.jp/guide/rakuten-link/

2.New design for Rakuten Mobile stores offers a new instore experience

To enrich the instore customer experience, Rakuten Mobile has both renewed its store design for the launch of the new mobile network service and introduced a number of new initiatives to improve the contract process. The first store to incorporate the new design and services opened today in Ebisu, and plans are underway to introduce these new features into other stores.

The Rakuten Mobile Ebisu Store features a simple, clean design based on the new magenta brand color, with a spacious layout that allows customers to browse the store with ease and complete contracts on the spot instore. A new wireless environment eliminates the need for power and security cables so that customers can easily touch, pick up and compare devices.
For customers who have already decided on their device and plan and made their application online, they can easily pick up their device in-store. With new initiatives like this to be rolled out nationwide for the full commercial launch, the time required by customers for completion of the contract process in-store will be significantly reduced.

3.Rakuten Mini launch
From January 23, the Rakuten Mini will be available for purchase by participants in the Free Supporter Program at six Rakuten Mobile stores. The Rakuten Mini will initially be available in “Night Black” and “Cool White” models, to be followed by the “Crimson Red” model from April.

The Rakuten Mini is the world’s smallest and lightest Felica-equipped smartphone, and Rakuten Mobile’s first original device available with an eSIM*8. The Rakuten Mini features a variety of functions suitable for everyday use, such as facial recognition and Osaifu-Keitai, in a small form that fits in the palm of your hand and a UI designed for one-handed use. As with other devices launched since October 2019, the Rakuten Mini is SIM lock free and eSIM-compatible. By leading the adoption of SIM lock free devices and eSIM, Rakuten Mobile aims to foster an environment where customers can freely choose their communications services and devices based on their individual needs.


About the Rakuten Mini

Device price:
One-time payment: 21,800 yen (including tax)
Installments: First installment: 462 yen (including tax), 454 yen (including tax) for remaining 47 installments

Rakuten Mini product page (Japanese only: https://network.mobile.rakuten.co.jp/product/smartphone/rakuten-mini/ )

Rakuten Mobile aims to offer comprehensive communications services combining flexible service plans and cutting-edge technology while leveraging the Rakuten Ecosystem and Rakuten Super Points to bring a new level of convenience and enjoyment to the lives of its subscribers.

*1 Applications are for one line per customer. Applications will be closed once the number of applications reaches 20,000.
*2 Press release announcing the Free Supporter Program: https://global.rakuten.com/corp/news/press/2019/0906_02.html
*3 Existing participants of the program can purchase the device at the standard price.
*4 These conditions will also apply to existing participants of the program from 12:00 a.m. on February 2.
*5 Residents of locations outside the eligible areas are unable to participate in the program.
*6 Participants in the first wave of the Free Supporter Program will not be eligible for an additional application.
*7 In order to receive the Rakuten Super Points, subscribers are required to fulfil a number of conditions, including providing feedback on the network. Details can be found at the following site: https://network.mobile.rakuten.co.jp/plan/supporter-program/#section06 (Japanese only)
*8 For mobile Felica equipped smartphones. As at July 2019, Rakuten’s own research. Smallest refers to the volume of the device.

* The company names, product and service names in this press release are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

About Rakuten Mobile
Rakuten Mobile, Inc. is a Rakuten Group company responsible for mobile communications, including mobile network operator (MNO) and mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) businesses, as well as ICT and energy. Through continuous innovation and the deployment of advanced technology, Rakuten Mobile aims to redefine expectations in the mobile communications industry in order to provide appealing and convenient services that respond to diverse customer needs.

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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