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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Rakuten 5G launch - quick takes

A quick post, copied from my LinkedIn (link) which is probably where comment / discussion will flow:

I just watched the Rakuten Mobile, Inc. #5G press conference.

Quick takeouts (+see Twitter thread link in comments):

- Rakuten is following Jio in undercutting incumbent MNOs with a greenfield / low-cost infrastructure & lightweight organisation
- Simple consumer-centric plan called Un-Limit V (ie V=5) with some of its own phones. It reckons it's 70% cheaper than rivals
- Big pitch for cloud + #OpenRAN
- Doing sub-GHz with NEC + Intel , plus Qualcomm for #mmWave radios
- Initial 870Mbps, upgraded to 2Gbps in a few months
- Unclear on NSA vs. SA support for new phones & network
- No mention of enterprise, verticals, Industry 4.0 etc. All about entertainment & "experience", with XR, gaming & streaming. Maybe enterprise is via APIs
- New "Big" 5G phone available from today
- I'll politely ignore the RCS-based communicator app

If I was a legacy MNO elsewhere in the world, I'd be nervously looking at my strategy team (& advisors) right now:
- Is enterprise really the key to #5G ?
- Will consolidation 4>3 or 3>2 MNOs just allow in a new greenfield entrant in our market?
- How fast can we reduce our legacy cost base?
- Is our government watching this as well?
- What happens when Rakuten pitches its platform internationally? Could *it* directly enter our market?

See also my Twitter thread with more screenshots & comment: https://twitter.com/disruptivedean/status/1311184039274074112?s=20

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