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Rakuten to take on mobile rivals with low-cost, big-data deal

Move comes amid uncertainty over Japanese giant's online shopping business

Rakuten plans to take on Japan's established major mobile players with much lower-priced plans.

TOKYO -- Japanese online shopping giant Rakuten is poised to throw down the gauntlet to its major mobile phone rivals by launching an eye-catchingly low-price offer for consumers as it prepares to make a full-scale foray into the business by the end of April. 

Rakuten's flagship service, which allows large volumes of data traffic, will be priced at 2,980 yen ($27.60) per month, less than half the price of similar services offered by major Japanese mobile operators.

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