The operating loss of 33.3 billion yen ($221.6 million) was an improvement on a 54 billion yen loss in the third quarter and less than half of the loss logged in the same period a year earlier, company filings showed on Wednesday.

Rakuten's mobile business registered an operating loss of 71 billion yen in the quarter, down from 81 billion yen the previous quarter.

The Tokyo-based company aims to achieve monthly earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBIDTA) in the segment by the end of 2024.

Rakuten's core e-commerce arm and its suite of fintech businesses posted strong profits.

"Our first impression is slightly positive," wrote Jefferies analyst Hiroko Sato in a report, adding that it would not be easy for Rakuten to meet its subscriber number and revenue targets needed to achieve profitability in the mobile business.

($1 = 150.2600 yen)

(Reporting by Anton Bridge; Editing by Stephen Coates)