Rakuten Mobile chairman Mickey Mikitani took over as CEO of Rakuten Symphony following the departure of Tareq Amin (pictured), an abrupt exit for the executive who spearheaded the open RAN pioneer’s rise before leading its software platform.

In a statement, the operator also revealed Rakuten Mobile CTO Sharad Sriwastawa was appointed acting president of Rakuten Symphony.

Sriwastawa also takes on the role of co-CEO at the operator, in addition to remaining CTO. He joined Rakuten Mobile in September 2018 and took over from Amin as CTO in March 2022, leaving him clear to focus on Symphony.

The changes are effective today (7 August).

In May, Japan’s fourth mobile player Rakuten Mobile outlined plans to reduce capex over the next three years.

Its many rounds of price cuts did not yield strong subscriber uptake and delayed its path to profitability.

Data from GSMA Intelligence pegged its mobile user base at 5 million at end-June. Market leader NTT Docomo had 72.4 million; KDDI 64 million; and SoftBank Corp 43.6 million.

The newcomer claimed 98.4 per cent population coverage at end-March, with 57,400 4G sites deployed across Japan.