Rakuten Mobile, Rakuten Symphony to Build Open RAN Customer Experience Center in UK | Vanilla Plus

Tokyo, Japan. November 21, 2022 – Rakuten Mobile, Inc., Rakuten Symphony, Inc. And Rakuten Symphony UK Ltd. announced plans to build an Open RAN Customer Experience Center at the Rakuten Symphony UK offices by March 2023. The center will offer telecom operators and industry suppliers in the European and Middle East region first-hand experience and the test of the latest technological advances in the field. In order to further develop and promote Open RAN technologies to support secure, open and transparent 5G networks, Rakuten Symphony plans to use the facility with partners to validate equipment interoperability, create exhibition facilities to demonstrate the latest technologies, and conduct workshops .

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to build our Open RAN Customer Experience Center in the UK, where we can provide an environment to test Open RAN solutions, as well as establish a hub for Open RAN thought leadership in Europe and the Middle East ”says Nobuyuki Uchida, executive, division director, technology division, strategy and compliance at Rakuten Mobile, Inc. and senior vice president of global government relations, Rakuten Symphony.

Japan’s Ministry of Home Affairs and Communications (MIC) and the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport made a joint announcement in March 2022 regarding their commitment to supplier diversity in the telecommunications sector. As part of this effort, Japan’s MIC has sought nominations for research projects that would both undertake validation of equipment interoperability between Japanese vendors and global vendors, and promote public awareness of Open RAN networks. Rakuten Mobile’s proposal to establish a new Open RAN Customer Experience Center and evaluate interoperable technologies has been selected for funding by the MIC, for its potential to contribute to this global strategic partnership between the UK and Japan.

Nastasi Karaiskos, Managing Director, Rakuten Symphony UK comments: “We are very grateful for the support of the Japanese Government and look forward to establishing a foundation for Open RAN testing, education and thought leadership here in the UK.” .

Open RAN is a type of mobile technology in which the protocols and interfaces for the various equipment in the radio access network (RAN) are open, allowing for interoperability between equipment and systems from different vendors. As mobile network demands diversify, Open RAN makes it possible to build multi-vendor networks, allowing operators to flexibly procure network equipment and reduce network construction costs. In addition, open standards offer greater security and transparency in the RAN.

  • Validate the interoperability of devices in accordance with the specifications established by the O-RAN Alliance: The Open RAN Customer Experience Center will validate the interoperability of equipment in a multivendor environment by performing connection confirmation verification.
  • Establish exhibition facilities to demonstrate the latest Open RAN technologies: Establish an exhibition facility to demonstrate how the latest Open RAN hardware and software such as the radio unit, central unit and distributed unit and mobile networks will be used to improve operational efficiency and new services.
  • Conduct workshops and events: Aiming to promote Open RAN technologies, the center will hold seminars and events that will introduce Open RAN related policies, trends and initiatives to European and overseas network operators and telecommunications equipment suppliers .

Rakuten Mobile is already recognized for its commitment to Open RAN technologies with the launch and operation of the cloud-native fully virtualized mobile network. It has been a member of the O-RAN Alliance since 2020 and remains committed to contributing to the technical development and global adoption of an innovative, open and intelligent RAN. The center in the UK follows the launch of the Rakuten Mobile Open Innovation Lab in Tokyo in August 2022, a technology proof-of-concept environment using technologies and expertise Rakuten Mobile has gained through its Open RAN commercial mobile network.

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