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Rakuten slashes mobile network costs with cloud tech

Reliability questions remain as Japan's new carrier readies service

Chairman and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani unveiled Rakuten's base station equipment Wednesday.(Photo by Kaisuke Ota)

TOKYO -- As Rakuten prepares to debut in Japan as a fourth major mobile carrier, it is tapping a new technology to reduce its network investment to just a fraction of conventional levels and offer competitive pricing.

The Japanese internet service company on Wednesday unveiled equipment to be used for its mobile service launching in October. The hardware, from American startup Altiostar Networks, comprises just servers stacked up on refrigerator-size racks in a Tokyo office building. It includes no switchboards, often seen in mobile service base stations.

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