Rakuten Mobile, the fourth mobile operator in Japan, is reported to have signed a deal to acquire 5G technologies from South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom (SKT), as the newcomer prepares for the launch of the next-generation mobile service in June 2020, The Korea Times reported.
The operator is expected to tap SKT for its 5G network design, optimisation, antenna and radio frequency transmission technologies.
The newspaper, however, quoted an SKT representative as saying: “We cannot confirm the contract.”
The value of the agreement was not disclosed, and a Rakuten Mobile representative also told Mobile World Live he was unable to comment on reports of a deal.
The operator, a subsidiary of e-commerce giant Rakuten, delayed its nationwide launch planned for early October, instead scaling back its ambitious plan and introducing a trial service for a limited number of subscribers.
As an internet player, the company is using its IT experience to differentiate itself by taking a completely cloud-native approach to its own new network, with plans to virtualise the radio network.
Rivals NTT Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank also aim to launch 5G service next year in time for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, committing to investing a combined JPY1.4 trillion to deploy the technology over the next five years.
KDDI, the second largest mobile operator in Japan, earlier this week selected Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung as its main 5G equipment suppliers.
Market leader NTT Docomo launched pre-commercial 5G service in select areas of 11 cities in Japan, delivering on its commitment to provide trial coverage at stadiums for the Rugby World Cup, which started on 20 September.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back