Orange signs global roaming agreement with Rakuten Mobile

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The new company is claimed to the world's first end-to-end, cloud-native mobile operator and began trialling its network in major Japanese cities earlier this month.

Orange’s wholesale arm, International Carriers will provide LTE roaming and professional services to Rakuten Mobile, Japan’s newest, fourth mobile network operator.

Orange is to provide Rakuten Mobile’s subscribers with international data roaming services around the world.

The French operator group has mobile operations in 27 countries and will use a roaming solution to connect Rakuten directly with carriers in others countries via IPX network connection.

The agreement also includes support from Orange professional services.

Bumpy start

Earlier this month, Rakuten Mobile launched a trial of its service. During the trial period, the service is available to only 5,000 people in Tokyo (Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric from Pexels), Osaka, Nagoya and Kobe. It will remain free of charge until the end of March 2020.

According to Nikkei Asian Review, last week the Japanese e-commerce company, Rakuten, which is the parent company of the new mobile operator, has had complaints from almost 20% of the 4,500 customers taking part in the soft launch who have received SIM cards but cannot connect to the network.

Rakuten Mobile said many of the connection failures are because customers are out of range, although some phones cannot connect to the network from indoor locations although they are within the coverage area.

The company said it plans to have 3,432 base stations installed by March: a government-run website shows about 1,700 in place now.