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Chip shortage stymies Rakuten's Japan mobile coverage

96% goal delayed to March 2022 with 10,000 base stations yet to be installed

Rakuten is a newcomer in Japan's mobile market, which has been dominated by NTT Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten Group has again pushed back a coverage target for its bid to disrupt the country's wireless communications market, with a global chip shortage slowing progress on building its network.

Rakuten Mobile now expects to need until March for its 4G network to cover 96% of the population in its service area, the company said in a briefing Friday. It had first aimed for the summer of 2021, then for sometime this year.

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