Japan’s Rakuten 5G launch delayed due to coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: A woman pushing a pram walks in front of a Rakuten Cafe store at a shopping district in Tokyo August 4, 2014. Japan’s largest e-commerce company Rakuten Inc posted a 9.9 percent decrease in second quarter operating profit, dragged lower by weaker trading volumes on its Internet finance platform. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Rakuten Inc said on Friday the launch of its 5G services that was planned for June had been delayed by at least three months due to the impact on supply chains by the coronavirus crisis.

Rakuten launched commercial wireless network services in April in a bid to win market share from the three incumbents and drive traffic to the firm’s ecommerce and financial services.

On Thursday, the firm reported growing operating losses at the mobile business. Chief Executive Hiroshi Mikitani said the mobile business had cut the cost of building its network by using cloud-based software instead of proprietary hardware.

Rakuten has not disclosed user numbers at the carrier, increasing uncertainty over its performance as the coronavirus halts economic activity across Japan.

Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Edmund Blair

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