Big in Japan: Irish tech firm Cubic wins major deal with Rakuten

28 Jan 2016

The Rakuten Global Travel SIM powered by Irish firm Cubic Telecom will hit Rakuten Mobile stores in March

Irish tech firm Cubic Telecom has signed a major deal with one of the biggest e-commerce companies on the planet, Japanese internet giant Rakuten, that will see it create a mobile SIM that can be used anywhere in the world.

Cubic will create the ‘Rakuten Mobile Global SIM’ to spark a new era of global connectivity for Japanese consumers travelling abroad.

It will provide consumers with competitive mobile rates as they travel country to country with the ability to connect to Tier 1 networks anytime, anywhere.

The deal comes just after Cubic signed a major deal with German car giant Audi to put machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity in Audi vehicles across Europe.

“We are very excited to be able to provide connectivity to the customer base of one of Japan’s largest internet services companies,” said Cubic Telecom CEO Barry Napier.

“The product is so easy to use and provides predictability and cost control to the end user.”

Rakuten has racked up annual revenues of $4.6bn and is not only one of the the biggest internet companies in Japan but one of the world’s largest e-commerce providers by sales.

The Japanese internet giant has acquired in the US, Priceminister in France, Ikeda in Brazil, in the UK and Kobo in Canada. Rakuten also has a stake in Pinterest and the Daily Grommet.

Rakuten ups the numbers

Founded originally in Cork by entrepreneur Pat Phelan, Cubic has grown to work with some of the world’s biggest transport, telecoms and tech brands.

The Dublin-based company is actively working with some of the world’s leading Fortune 100 tablet and notebook manufacturers, including HP and Lenovo, and Australian retail giant Woolworths

In May, Audi and chip giant Qualcomm made an €18m investment in Cubic Telecom to put 3G and 4G connectivity in Audi vehicles.

The Rakuten Global Travel SIM will hit Rakuten Mobile stores in March.

“Cubic Telecom is providing our customers with an innovative connectivity solution that enables Rakuten customers to have easy access to data wherever they travel,” said Yasufumi Hirai, executive vice-president and representative director of Rakuten.

Tokyo image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years