Japanese challenger Rakuten Mobile achieved an aim to reach 96 per cent population coverage for its 4G network, with plans in place for continued expansion.
Rakuten Mobile announced the goal had been reached earlier today (4 February), around four years ahead of the target set when it initially outlined its deployment plan.
The operator’s area of service, referred to as the Rakuten line area, initially covered the 23 wards of Tokyo, Osaka City and Nagoya City. It has since been expanded to reach additional areas and hit the 96 per cent figure.
Rakuten Mobile built its network from scratch based on cloud-native infrastructure and offered its first commercial services in April 2020. At launch its 4G network covered 23.4 per cent of its line area.
In 2021, CTO Tareq Amin detailed plans to commence a “mass acceleration” of 5G site deployment once its 4G aim was met, though at the time he cited September 2021 as the likely date it would be reached.