Rakuten, which is scheduled to enter the mobile space in Japan in October 2019, signed a deal which will see it use KDDI’s 4G network in return for helping the operator launch a payment service.
KDDI will “provide roaming services to Rakuten for its 4G mobile network” the companies revealed in a joint statement. The agreement will enable Rakuten “to offer a nationwide LTE service from launch.” The services will be provided until March 2026 which will give the e-commerce giant time to build out its own network.
Meanwhile KDDI will use Rakuten’s payment platform and network of around 1.2 million affiliated stores in Japan to launch its own barcode and QR payment service, called au PAY, in April 2019.
“By promoting the mutual use of both companies’ payment services, the companies aim to improve customer convenience and accelerate their vision of a cashless society,” Rakuten added.
Rakuten will also provide its logistics services to KDDI’s Wowma online shopping channel from April 2019.
Earlier this week it was reported Japan’s largest mobile operator, NTT Docomo, plans to reduce mobile prices, with KDDI and SoftBank expected to follow suit, as all three prepare for the increase in competition Rakuten’s entry will bring.
Last month Rakuten became the latest company to release details of 5G technology trials, completing an OTA test with Nokia.