In Spain we know Rakuten mainly for its television service. However, it is a Japanese company with a significant presence in the field of telecommunications. In fact, we recently told you that Vodafone and Rakuten have teamed up to create the first mobile broadband network to transmit from space. Rakuten is already an operator with its own network in Japan since April 8, with a very interesting strategy when introducing itself as a new competitor with good assets.

So let’s count why the Rakuten case is striking And what is the current situation of this new operator that intends to stand up to the rest through its own network infrastructure to end up not depending on any other operator.

From OMV to « traditional » operator

Since April 8, Rakuten has been operating as a new operator with its own network. It started as a mobile virtual network operator dependent on other operators’ network and now the plan is to compete directly with the big ones in Japan with its own network and betting on aggressive pricing strategy at rates that offer unlimited data with some « buts ». The main limitation is that its unlimited rate has a 5GB limit when using data roaming. As there are several areas in the country where Rakuten has not yet deployed its mobile network, it is necessary to use roaming to have a network connection in those areas.

What has happened when this small operator has started to build its own network (after acquiring the wireless spectrum necessary to do this)? From OpenSignal they have wanted to analyze it and the data is interesting. The loading speed of the Rakuten network in Japan is up to 33% faster than that of the rest of its competitors, although the download is considerably lower, at 46.9%. Regarding the data related to voice calls, 4G network availability and game with network connectivity, the data is very similar to that of the large operators in Japan.

Focusing efforts on data upload speed is a good way to focus on users who primarily want a good online file sharing experience.

Centralizing efforts on load speed is a strategy that makes sense. It is a way to focus on users who share a lot of content online as photos, videos and more, instead of downloading large amounts of content.

One of the central points for this measurement of the data is to analyze how the Rakuten network will withstand the strain on its infrastructureThat is, its own load as the number of users increases. Since the service launched on April 8, a significant drop in video download, upload and playback data can be observed. The more users, the more traffic and the more tension in the network infrastructure.

On the other hand, it is more than interesting to see the differences between using the network of other companies and using your own. In the case of Rakuten, although it remains below the country’s main operators, the differences at the download level with respect to using the network of other operators is more than double. This allows us to see a small map of how important it is for an operator to be in control of their own network instead of depending on the rest.

Rakuten’s data is relevant: with such an early stage of development and only a presence in three major cities, it has the potential to stand up to the giants of Japan

The data is relevant because, despite being at such an early stage (Rakuten has only deployed its network in three cities: Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka), Rakuten has the potential to compete against the country’s large operators. The main problem is that, according to OpenSignal data, users of the company spend more time on data itineraries than using the company’s own network, with data on itineraries being limited to 5 GB, as discussed above. The solution to this is to wait for Rakuten to expand its network coverage, so it remains to track them closely to see whether or not they end up competing from you to you with the other operators.

Track | OpenSignal


The case of Rakuten in Japan: from a small OMV to threaten the telephone giants