Rakuten seeks license to become Japan’s fourth major mobile carrier

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese online retailer Rakuten Inc said on Thursday it will apply for a fourth generation mobile carrier license, a move that if successful would see it become the country’s fourth major wireless carrier.

A woman pushing a pram walks in front of a Rakuten Cafe store at a shopping district in Tokyo August 4, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

Rakuten said it aims to start offering mobile services in 2019 and wants to secure at least 15 million subscribers. It added that it was preparing to raise as much as 600 billion yen ($5.3 billion) by 2025 via interest-bearing debt to fund the move.

Japan’s mobile carrier market is currently dominated by NTT Docomo Inc, KDDI Corp and SoftBank Group.

Rakuten shares fell 3.2 percent in morning trade. The benchmark Nikkei average was down 0.1 percent.

Rakuten currently has a mobile virtual network operator business which it launched in October 2014.

Reporting Thomas Wilson; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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