Rakuten weighs $1.8 billion bond issue to launch mobile service: Nikkei

(Reuters) - Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten Inc will issue as much as 200 billion yen ($1.86 billion) to prepare for its entry into the country’s mobile phone service market, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday.

Rakuten plans to launch the service in October 2019 and spend about 600 billion yen to build the required infrastructure, including a nationwide wireless network, the Nikkei reported.

Rakuten said last week it won government approval to offer mobile services as it expands into a market dominated by three major carriers — NTT DoCoMo Inc, KDDI Corp and SoftBank Group Corp.

Rakuten is aiming to sign up at least 15 million subscribers. By comparison, No. 3 carrier SoftBank has about 39 million subscribers.

($1 = 107.3400 yen)

(This version of the story was refiled to correct first paragraph to add dropped words “in bonds”)

Reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar