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Rakuten to shake up Japan's mobile triopoly and trigger price war

E-commerce company starts service in October 2019

Rakuten will join KDDI's au, NTT Docomo and SoftBank as a fourth major carrier. (Photos by Rie Ishii and Keiichiro Sato)

TOKYO -- Japanese e-commerce operator Rakuten was granted spectrum on Friday to launch cellular service starting in 2019, but the conditional approval points to the difficulty the Japanese virtual mall operator will likely face in building its own mobile network.

The Radio Regulatory Council, an advisory body to the communications minister, decided to allocate 4G bandwidth to Rakuten, with official ministry approval expected on Monday.

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