Japanese authorities signed off a plan by Rakuten Mobile to use the 700MHz frequency band to improve coverage, the company revealed, with Reuters reporting the operator’s parent company planned to splash JPY54.4 billion ($362.9 million) on new base stations.

The news publication claimed Rakuten’s mobile unit intended to use 10,661 base stations to take advantage of the allocation as it chases profitability in 2026.

Reports of the upcoming cash injection from Rakuten Group came hours after Rakuten Mobile announced Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications had approved its proposal to expand mobile services into the 700MHz band.

The operator indicated its plan would “ensure fair competition in Japan and foster the further growth and development of telecommunications networks in the country”.

“Preparations are underway with the aim of launching operations as soon as possible,” it added, noting it would also use its “unique network technology and existing base station sites to build out base stations in a cost-efficient and effective manner”.

The move comes during what has so-far been an apparently unsettled year for the open RAN pioneer, where it unveiled a capex-slashing plan, reportedly closed retail outlets and endured the departure of one of the unit’s figureheads in co-CEO Tareq Amin in August.