Rakuten eying entry into Japan's mobile carrier market: source

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese online retailer Rakuten Inc plans to join a government auction for wireless spectrum to be held in January, potentially becoming the country’s fourth major wireless carrier, a source briefed on the matter said on Thursday.

A woman pushing a pram walks in front of a Rakuten Cafe store at a shopping district in Tokyo August 4, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

The source declined to be identified because the talks are private.

Japan’s mobile carrier market is currently dominated by NTT Docomo Inc, KDDI Corp and SoftBank Group.

The Nikkei business daily, which reported on the plan on Thursday, said Rakuten would raise 600 billion yen ($5.3 billion) by 2025 to invest in base stations and other infrastructure.

Rakuten said in a statement that while it was true it is weighing entry into the mobile carrier market, media reports on the matter were not something announced by the company.

Rakuten shares were down 1.7 percent in early trade. The benchmark Nikkei average was flat.

($1 = 112.6300 yen)

Reporting by Yoshiyasu Shida and Thomas Wilson; Writing by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Stephen Coates

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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The 1 Strategy You Need to Know For Startup Success (If You Aren't One Of These 3 Types of Companies)

If your startup was a boat, what kind of boat would it be?

Is it a speedboat or a sailboat?

When it comes to startups who don’t know what type of boat to build, they are likely to be lost at sea.

Let’s face it, most entrepreneurs sink. We see it happen all the time.

With being founders ourselves and making investments into companies including Bonobos, Birchbox, Warby Parker, Pinterest, Lyft, Krave Jerky, Kevita, and numerous others, we have come an eye-opening realization.

Faster is not always better.

In fact, depending on your business model and positioning in the marketplace, slower might keep you from drowning.

Still not sure if your startup is a speedboat or sailboat? Answer the following questions 3 questions:

  1. Is your company the first mover in an industry?

  2. Is your company growing a high rate with an even higher burn rate?

  3. Is your company like Lyft?

If you answered “no” or “not sure” to any of these, keep reading to learn why your startup is best off with a sailboat strategy. We will not only prevent your company from sinking, but can help you successfully reach the destination you are trying to reach.

Think of a sailboat as a company that’s headingnot racingin a general direction and trying to position itself in the tailwinds of favorable trends. Contrast this with a speedboatan early entrant usually characterized by unsustainably high growth and burn ratessprinting towards the finish line.

You think that a speedboat pedal-to-the-metal strategy is the best way to build a great startup, right?

Not necessarily.

The sailboat strategy may work better for your business.

Why?

Because sailboats can go longer without any gas, and can take advantage of emerging trends that not everyone else can see.

A major benefit of sailboats is the ability to spot incoming trendswhether they’re rooted in changes in consumer behavior or the macroeconomic backdropand take advantage of the winds that guide them.

Consider Kevita, the manufacturer of sparkling probiotic drinks. Founded in 2009, it had a hunch that consumers would soon view kombucha as a fitting health drink, so it placed its product in a few stores and waited for consumer behavior to shift accordingly.

Unlike a speedboat, this “float around the rim” strategy doesn’t attempt to create trendsrather it attempts to exploit them.

Being a sailboat allows you leverage particular trends at just the right time. The time when customers do not need to be convinced that they need your product. The time when they want your product. A time when speedboats have already raced past the customers and emerging trends.

Time Is on Your Side

It’s no surprise that the sailboat’s journey may be more drawn-out than that of a speedboat. A keen startup sailor is patient and lets the wind blow them in the direction of market trends.

View this as a massive opportunity and unfair advantage.

Sailboats can capitalize on this extra time to iterate, identify customers, and build brand loyalty before their trends take off. Get to know the surrounding water before exploring the rest of the ocean; for instance, focus on building relationships with your local target demographic.

If you execute correctly, word-of-mouth referralsthe cheapest, most effective marketing formwill put more wind in your sails and bolster your presence throughout the local area and facilitate the movement to new locations. With an established base of customers willing to vouch for you, you will be in a perfect position to capitalize on the winds of the consumer trends, meeting customers where they are at in real time.

This is in direct contrast with the speedboat’s need to constantly convince customers why they need it, burning gas and making big waves in the process.

This is not to say that the speedboat strategy is impossibleit often seems like the most famous startups rise seemingly overnight. But, we can attest from experience that the vast majority of these companies end up out of gas and lost at sea. The protracted, thought-out, journey of the sailboat proves more often than not to be more successful in reaching the promised land filled with customers who are ready to buy.

With all this in mind, it is time to pack up your startup sailboat, set the sails, and (patiently) sail into startup success.

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