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Rakuten Mobile Gains Approval for Platinum Band Base Station, Sets Conservative Launch Estimate

Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications greenlights Rakuten Mobile's first platinum band base station; conservative start estimate shifted from March 2026 to end of 2024
Japan
r 4755.TSE Mid and Small Cap 2000 Tech 350
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Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has given the green light to Rakuten Mobile for its inaugural base station in the platinum band (700MHz). The allocated frequency is 3MHz width, and Rakuten Mobile is the sole applicant. Initially slated for possible launch in December 2023, due to proximity with digital broadcasting and radio microphones, the rollout has been delayed to minimize disruptions. Rakuten’s conservative service commencement estimate is now aimed for the end of 2024, while the official plan proposed March 2026. The company is committed to ensuring customers experience the full potential of the Platinum Band as swiftly as possible. The 700MHz allocation is relatively narrower compared to the three other carriers. Rakuten Mobile intends to set up 10,661 specified base stations (700MHz band) by the end of the certification period, targeting an 83.2% population coverage rate. A total investment of ¥54.4 billion in specific base station equipment is planned by the end of FY2021. Initially, discussions were focused on reallocating bands held by Docomo, KDDI, and SoftBank to Rakuten Mobile, but the proposal faced challenges. Later, based on NTT Docomo’s recommendation, a vacant area of 3MHz width x 2 around the 700MHz band was discovered, leading to the consideration of new bandwidth allocation. After confirming the feasibility of sharing through various measures, including filter insertion, the allocation was approved.

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