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5G networks

Japan's Rakuten and NEC to build own 5G network

Pair to establish 16,000 low-cost base stations, with overseas expansion in sight

A Rakuten Mobile store in Tokyo's Ikebukuro district: The e-commerce group is mounting a low-cost challenge to Japan's three established wireless carriers.

TOKYO -- E-commerce group Rakuten, Japan's newest wireless carrier, will partner with information technology group NEC to install roughly 16,000 low-cost fifth-generation base stations across the country over five years, the company announced on Wednesday. Nikkei had reported the deal earlier in the day.

Billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani's Rakuten chose the domestic supplier to build out its 5G network as carriers in Japan and elsewhere shun equipment made by China's Huawei Technologies.

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