COVID-19 Impact: Rakuten’s 5G Launch Delayed

COVID-19 Impact Rakuten’s 5G Launch Delayed

On Friday, Japan’s Rakuten Inc said the launch of its 5G services planned for June has now been delayed by as much as three months due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

According to the company’s spokesperson, software testing by Rakuten’s Indian vendors has been impacted severely due to a lockdown in place since 25th March.

The delay is a latest setback for Rakuten, which was forced the organization to push back the start of commercial services for its mobile network to April. Currently the company is trying to get a chunk of the market, currently dominated by its three competitors, and drive traffic to its ecommerce and financial services.

On Thursday, the company announced of growing operating losses at its mobile business. According to the CEO of Rakuten, the network cut costs by using cloud-based software, instead of a proprietary hardware.

The carrier was launched with aggressively low priced plans. However, with much lesser base stations than its competitors and numbers trailing incumbents, Rakuten is paying KDDI Corp for roaming services.

The company has not yet disclosed how many users it has garnered after its launch, which eventually increases uncertainty over its performance, as COVID-19 pandemic has already halted economic activity across the island nation.

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