Mobile messaging platform Line has always made the effort to go beyond basic message services, and its latest venture may be the most ambitious yet. During the Line Conference Tokyo, the company revealed plans to become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) later this year.
Expected to be named Line Mobile, the service will launch in the summer, but before we all get over-excited about choosing Brown the bear or Cony the rabbit themed plans, the service only looks like it’ll be in Japan for now. Line has apparently signed up with NTT DoCoMo to provide the network infrastructure, and set a price of just 500 yen (that’s about $4.40) per month.
Line already provides a wide variety of services, such as free calls, messages, mobile payments, games, streaming music, and group chat; all of which will be included in Line Mobile’s monthly cost. Only calls and data used outside of the Line family will be chargeable, making it sound even better value, especially for those already deeply entrenched in the Line ecosystem. Line Points will also be rewarded to subscribers, which can be spent on stickers, and other Line-related goods.
Wondering how many people use Line enough to justify such an offer? It’s a lot. Also revealed at the conference was the news there are a billion people registered with Line, and 215 million use the app each month. In Japan, that makes Line a bigger deal on mobile than both Facebook and Twitter.
Other notable Line statistics include that a total of 2.4 billion stickers are sent and received each day, and 640 million games have been downloaded from the Line Games portal so far. With stats like this, it’s not difficult to see why Line wants to have a cut of the data and communication channel as well.