Showing posts with label Rakuten. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rakuten. Show all posts

Monday, February 28, 2022

Rakuten Symphony to acquire Robin.io

Rakuten Symphony agreed to acquire Robin.io, a start-up based in San Jose, California that develops multi-cloud mobility, hyper automation and orchestration solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Robin.io holds over 70 patents in the cloud-native technology space. Its product portfolio includes:

  • Robin Cloud Native Storage (Robin CNS) – An award winning, high performing, software-defined and industry-first application-aware storage solution that has been built from the ground-up for Kubernetes.
  • Robin Cloud Native Platform (CNP) – A leading open-source platform optimized for running data and network intensive applications used in production for various use cases involving databases, big data, data analytics, 5G, O-RAN, packet core & edge.
  • Robin Multi Data Center Automation Platform (MDCAP) – The web-scale platform for metal-to-service orchestration and automation.

Robin.io claims to have petabyte size deployments underway with its software running on tens of thousands of servers in production that span across its product portfolio and services Fortune 1000 customers across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Collaboration between the companies has already been underway for more than two years. Rakuten Mobile leveraged Robin.io in production for the Japan deployment of the world’s first end-to-end fully virtualized cloud-native mobile network. 

Rakuten Symphony says adding Robin.io’s portfolio for cloud-native deployment, lifecycle management and orchestration enables it to deploy highly reliable, flexible, scalable, secure and resilient mobile networks built on the principles of open interfaces, virtualization and interoperability. Following the acquisition, Partha Seetala will take up the position of President of the Unified Cloud business unit of Rakuten Symphony.

“Edge cloud requirements are unique and critical as mobile operators transition to 5G: The next era of digital experience requires another level of performance, responsiveness and consistency that enables telecom operator and enterprise transformation to be safely accelerated while creating a platform to support the next 10 years of experiences. Robin.io’s cloud capability is proven to be effective for the most demanding workloads in mobile and we believe it will allow Rakuten Symphony to safely accelerate cloud-native transformation for our customers and prepare the industry for the future,” said Tareq Amin, CEO, Rakuten Symphony.

“I am delighted that Robin.io’s technology innovations over the last several years will now get a much bigger canvas to lead the vision for cloud-native transformation for the industry. Our vision to deliver simple to use, easy to deploy hyperscale automation is very well aligned,” said Partha Seetala, CEO, Robin.io. “We believe Robin.io’s customers will hugely benefit from the synergies of cloud-native technology innovations from Robin.io, and the open competitive infrastructure solutions and global scale of Rakuten Symphony. This is indeed an exciting phase for us as we work together to bring a much larger ecosystem together to deliver higher value for our customers globally.”

Rakuten Symphony: Disrupting the Mobile Industry

 How can a brand new network become the best network in Japan? In this video clip, Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Symphony, discusses their success in the use of Open RAN to disrupt the mobile market and how they prevailed despite naysayers.https://youtu.be/MclEym6j...

Rakuten acquires Altiostar for Open VRAN solutions

 Rakuten Group has acquired Altiostar Networks at a total valuation of US$1 billion.Altiostar’s 4G and 5G open virtual Radio Access Network (Open vRAN) solutions are being used by Rakuten Mobile in its new 5G network in Japan. Altiostar's suite of Open vRAN network functions are running on the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP), which is a fully virtualized, cloud-native telco platform.Altiostar Networks CEO, Ashraf Dahod commented: “Open...



Sunday, February 27, 2022

Rakuten Symphony and Qualcomm target Massive MIMO RU and DU

Rakuten Mobile and Qualcomm Technologies agreed to collaborate to develop a next-generation 5G Radio Unit (RU) with Massive MIMO capabilities and distributed units (DUs).

The new products, which will leverage the Qualcomm X100 5G RAN Accelerator Card and high-performance Massive MIMO Qualcomm QRU100 5G RAN Platform, are designed to enhance Rakuten Symphony’s Symware product portfolio of Open RAN solutions.

Rakuten Mobile, Rakuten Symphony and Qualcomm Technologies aim to deliver a high-performance Open RAN Massive MIMO solution that supports configurations of up to 64T64R, which will enhance coverage, improve cell-edge data speeds, as well as increase the overall capacity of the network. This will also enable enhanced speed in the rollout of 5G networks with high performance O-RAN compliant infrastructure products.

"Rakuten Symphony is passionately committed to enabling the transformation of mobile networks for the digital-centric future and we are honored to have our group’s opportunity to collaborate with global technology leaders such as Qualcomm Technologies to achieve this goal," said Tareq Amin, chief executive officer, Rakuten Symphony, Inc. "The new RUs and DUs developed with the support of Qualcomm Technologies aim to offer mobile operators and other organizations a dynamic and cost-effective way to deploy high-performance, virtualized 5G networks through the adoption of O-RAN-compliant software and infrastructure."

“Qualcomm Technologies is pleased to collaborate with Rakuten Mobile, the parent company of Rakuten Symphony on the development of comprehensive solutions from Open RAN 5G Radio Units with Massive MIMO capabilities to high-performance Distributed Units platforms. Through this collaboration, our collective aim is to accelerate next generation 5G mobile infrastructure global adoption, and this milestone will help operators meet performance demands at the edge and provide enhanced user experiences,” said Durga Malladi, senior vice president and general manager, 5G, mobile broadband and infrastructure, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. 

Monday, November 1, 2021

Rakuten Symphony: Disrupting the Mobile Industry

 How can a brand new network become the best network in Japan? 

In this video clip, Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Symphony, discusses their success in the use of Open RAN to disrupt the mobile market and how they prevailed despite naysayers.

https://youtu.be/MclEym6jYlM

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Intel, Juniper, and Rakuten Symphony partner on O-RAN

by Benedict Chua, Associate Editor

Intel, Juniper Networks, and Rakuten Symphony are collaboratively developing an Open RAN solution that includes a "Symware" multipurpose edge appliance leverages Rakuten Symphony’s containerized RAN software from Altiostar, Intel Xeon D Processors and FlexRAN reference software, and Juniper’s cloud-native routing stack.

Kubernetes will play a key role

The Symware multipurpose edge appliance combines the containerized cell site routing functionality and a containerized Distributed Unit on a single general purpose server platform.

 The companies aim to provide a consistent carrier-grade routing stack across both physical and virtual Radio Access Networks. The goal is to enable 5G network slicing features both in RAN and transport domains including slice isolation, slice monitoring and dynamic traffic steering through segment routing.

The solution supports automation with zero-touch provisioning, rolling updates, telemetry and analytics for all the components, and is based on the Kubernetes ecosystem for orchestration and networking.

“Rakuten Symphony constantly looks to introduce leading-edge innovations to accelerate network transformations,” said Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Symphony. “With our partners, we have developed a cost-performance optimized appliance that simplifies the cell site deployment for 4G, 5G and future generations of mobile technology. Symware provides operators with the ultimate future-proof cell site solution that enables them to flexibly densify their network and accommodate various network topologies at the lowest cost.”

Dan Rodriguez, Intel corporate vice president and general manager, Network Platforms Group added, “We continue to see the industry shift to take advantage of the many benefits provided by the cloudification of the RAN. By utilizing our Next Generation Intel® Xeon® D Processors and FlexRANTM reference software, this collaboration showcases how RAN workloads can be consolidated onto a single server and meet the performance, capacity and cost requirements of 5G RAN deployments.”

Raj Yavatkar, Juniper’s CTO, stated “Removing the obstacles of deploying ORAN in disaggregated production networks is critical for 5G growth. Integrated routing and ORAN in a single platform delivers cost and operational benefits for network operators. Combined with industry leading Intel technology and Rakuten’s DU software, Juniper’s disaggregated and state-of-art routing stack offers operators a unique solution for delivering differentiated 5G services including network slicing.”

https://symphony.rakuten.com/

Interview - Mobile World Congress Los Angeles 2021

 How can a brand new network become the best network in Japan? 

In this video clip, Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Symphony, discusses their success in the use of Open RAN to disrupt the mobile market and how they prevailed despite naysayers.

https://youtu.be/MclEym6jYlMhttps://youtu.be/MclEym6jYlM

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Rakuten Mobile implements Cisco SRv6 micro-segments

Rakuten Mobile, which launched 4G service in Japan in April 2020 and 5G non-standalone (NSA) services in September 2020, will implement Cisco's Segment Routing over IPv6 (SRv6) and Cisco Routed Optical Networking. To support its future 5G SA services with network slicing capabilities, Rakuten Mobile will introduce SRv6 micro-segments, an extension to the SRv6 network programming model that is key to addressing multi-domain 5G deployments across its network. Cisco Customer Experience (CX) will plan and implement the overall architecture and design.

Cisco says transitioning to SRv6 will help Rakuten Mobile increase network resiliency and support a wider range of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that are foundational for upcoming 5G and IoT services.  Cisco Routed Optical Networking will enable Rakuten Mobile to consolidate coherent pluggable optics into a router, making the entire network more automated to deploy services faster (from 100 days down to 40), reduce power consumption by nearly 30 percent, and increase profitability through high-quality services at a competitive price.


“Reimagining mobile networking is at the very heart of Rakuten Mobile’s strategy, and our decision to go full-speed ahead on SRv6 and Cisco Routed Optical Networking demonstrates our effort to take advantage of technology innovation at every layer of the stack,” said Tareq Amin, Chief Technology Officer, Rakuten Mobile. “We knew that Cisco would walk in lock-step with us as we worked through each phase needed to implement this new technology and align it to our business goals.”

“Cisco and Rakuten Mobile are on a path to profoundly change the way network infrastructure is built, in order to connect as many people as possible to quality internet services,” said Jonathan Davidson, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Mass-Scale Infrastructure Group, Cisco. “Rakuten Mobile continues to mark important milestones to take its network to the next-level, and together we are showcasing the blueprint for the internet for the future to support our world of wireless and cloud-powered experiences.”

https://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=2174308

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Rakuten Mobile teams with Equinix

 Rakuten Mobile Singapore Pte. selected Platform Equinix as a foundation to deliver its Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP) to global operators and enterprise customers. 

Rakuten Mobile intends to offer RCP as a set of key technologies and services that allows governments, telecom companies and enterprises a way to easily build and deploy fully cloud-native network services at speed and low cost. With plans underway to roll out RCP on a global scale, Rakuten Mobile selected Platform Equinix after a thorough evaluation process to address its dynamic needs.

The deployment with Equinix will be completed in phases, with initial deployment in Singapore, the location of Rakuten Mobile's international headquarters, and Los Angeles with future expansions planned across the U.S., EMEA and Asia-Pacific. 

"We are thrilled to collaborate with Equinix to support the global expansion of our telecommunications business through Rakuten Communications Platform. Equinix's global footprint, enterprise-grade facilities and strong network capabilities make it the ideal partner for us to bring the deployment of cloud-native mobile networks to telecom and enterprise companies around the world," said Tareq Amin, Chief Technology Officer, Rakuten Mobile.

"Today marks the beginning of a strong and solid collaboration with Rakuten Mobile. The first phase of deployment in Singapore and Los Angeles lays ground for future international expansion of its mobile business. With Platform Equinix, Rakuten Mobile can take advantage of our global footprint and solid network ecosystems to deliver high-speed, low-latency and secure services to its customers around the globe. We look forward to furthering this collaboration and are excited to see what the future holds," said Justin Dustzadeh, Chief Technology Officer, Equinix.


Sunday, June 7, 2020

Rakuten Mobile employs Sprirent for 4G/5G testing

Rakuten Mobile is working with Sprirent Communications in support of the operator’s current LTE services, planned 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) and Standalone (SA) rollout in Japan.

Specifically, Rakuten Mobile required testing capabilities to assure the performance of new services and selected Spirent Landslide for core network testing. With LTE services now live and deployment of its 5G NSA network planned for later in the year, Spirent will work with Rakuten Mobile to ensure a solid customer experience.

Rakuten Mobile is also using the Spirent iTest network automation and verification solution for regression testing to speed validation timeframes, allowing Rakuten Mobile’s engineering teams to remain focused on new service creation for subscribers.

“We are excited to collaborate with Spirent for core network testing,” said Tareq Amin, representative director, executive vice president and CTO of Rakuten Mobile. “Given their extensive in-region and global MNO/MVNO experience, advanced methodologies for testing fully-virtualized networks and ability to serve in a consultative role, we are confident that our collaboration will allow us to offer innovative and exciting next generation mobile services to Rakuten Mobile customers.”

“Rakuten Mobile are market trendsetters and Spirent is proud to leverage our depth of experience and advanced testing solutions portfolio to ensure Japan’s newest operator can focus on achieving its vision for offering comprehensive communications services that combine a simple service plan and cutting-edge technologies,” said Spirent’s country manager for Japan, Akihiro Nakamura. “We look forward to working alongside the company as subscribers take advantage of its new services and new deployment targets are set.”

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Rakuten and NEC develop 5G Standalone Core tech in Japan

Rakuten Mobile and NEC reached an agreement to jointly develop the containerized standalone (SA) 5G core network (5GC) to be utilized in Rakuten Mobile’s fully virtualized cloud native 5G network. Based on the agreement, the companies will collaborate to build a Japan-made, highly reliable 5GC, based on the 5GC software source code developed by NEC.  Subsequent to the launch of its non-standalone (NSA) 5G service in 2020, Rakuten Mobile aims to provide its SA 5G service in Japan in 2021.

The companies said their containerized 5GC will also play a key role in the global expansion of RCP, a platform aimed at offering solutions and services for the deployment of virtualized networks at speed and low cost by telecom companies and enterprises around the world, tailored for their unique needs. The 5GC will be offered as an application on the RCP Marketplace, allowing customers to quickly and easily “click, purchase and deploy” a fully virtualized SA 5G core network solution.

“We are very excited to collaborate with NEC on the development of our standalone 5G core network,” commented Tareq Amin, Representative Director, Executive Vice President and CTO of Rakuten Mobile. “Our partnership with NEC represents a joint collaboration to build an open, secure and highly scalable 4G and 5G cloud native converged core, that will also become a key feature of the highly competitive services we will offer to global customers through the Rakuten Communications Platform.”

“NEC is proud to be the 5GC development partner for Rakuten Mobile's advanced, fully virtualized, cloud-native network. Following the BSS/OSS for the 4G network and 5G radio equipment that we have already begun offering, we look forward to providing a high-quality, highly reliable 5GC and contributing to Rakuten Mobile's 5G services," said Atsuo Kawamura, Executive Vice President and President of the Network Services Business Unit, NEC.

http://www.nec.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Rakuten tests O-RAN 5G Massive MIMO with Altiostar and NEC

Altiostar confirmed that its O-RAN Alliance-compliant multi-vendor massive-multi-input, multi-output (mMIMO) 5G solution is in now in testing with with NEC Corporation and Rakuten Mobile.

Specifically, Altiostar is integrating the O-RAN distributed unit (O-DU) functionality of its virtual radio access network (vRAN) software with NEC's O-RAN Radio Unit (O-RU) using fully compliant control, user, synchronization and management (C/U/S/M) plane protocols based on O-RAN Alliance guidelines. The 5G layer is built using container network functions (CNF) that leverage Rakuten Mobile's cloud infrastructure platform that is part of its 4G network build out.

As part of management-plane integration, Altiostar is following a hierarchical model that allows the O-DU software to manage the NEC O-RU, including providing software upgrades, RU configuration, fault management and performance monitoring. This interoperability is being performed for 5G new radio (NR) sub-6 GHz massive MIMO O-RU and meets all the 3GPP downlink/uplink (DL/UL) requirements.

"Open RAN as a concept is one that the whole industry is now actively pursuing as a means to introduce supply chain diversity into mobile networks globally," said Ashraf Dahod, CEO of Altiostar Networks. "Altiostar is leading the industry with this network transformation by ensuring interoperability, integration and most importantly extensive testing to ensure that we have a commercial, carrier-grade solution for both 4G and 5G while keeping the principles of Open RAN in place."

"Rakuten Mobile is a big supporter of O-RAN principles and has seen the benefit of supply chain diversity in our own network," said Tareq Amin, Representative Director, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Rakuten Mobile. "By combining the spectral efficiency of massive MIMO along with an advanced cloud-based RAN, we are leveraging and introducing advanced innovative technology from both NEC and Altiostar, who are specialists in these respective fields."

Altiostar's container-based 5G solution splits the baseband into the CU and DUs using micro-services to disaggregate these RAN workloads at a deep level. The DU provided by Altiostar is interoperable with, and uses, O-RAN compliant interfaces to work with third-party O-RUs. These workloads can be deployed flexibly to support different quality of service (QoS) and other requirements of the 5G network slice.

The Altiostar containerized architecture also intrinsically introduces Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS). Thus, containers that support IoT can be sized differently when compared to other workloads, such as enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) applications. Alternatively for ultra-reliable low latency communications (UrLLC) applications like V2x or augmented reality, the operator can dynamically deploy the user plane containers at far-edge locations.

NEC has designed its 5G Radio Unit (RU) as an active antenna array system (AAS) that consists of an RF front end and a massive-element antenna in order to minimize the system footprint and provide high-efficiency.

NEC's AAS utilizes a fully digitized antenna beam control technology that improves the precision of beam forming. While transmitting beams to the target mobile handsets, it is capable of forming beams that counteract interfering signals using multi-path. It can also form beams that improve communication quality by efficiently combining the multi-path of its own signals with the direct waves.

The features of NEC's AAS enable concurrent communication with several handsets, even though they are close to each other, while maintaining high communication quality. In the trials, NEC proved that use of the AAS can result in improved capacity and quality of communication between a base station and handsets, while confirming that spectral efficiency was reliably maintained at a level roughly eight times higher than that achieved by LTE in indoor environments.

https://www.altiostar.com/nec-rakuten-oran/

Altiostar raises $114 million for its open vRAN

Altiostar, a start-up based in  Tewksbury, Mass., closed a $114 million Series C round of financing for its open virtualized RAN (open vRAN) technology.

Rakuten, which is preparing to launch a greenfield mobile network in Japan later this year, is coming on board as an investor. Rakuten is deploying the Altiostar solution in their mobile network and the companies are collaborating on the development of 5G solutions.

In early 2018, Qualcomm Ventures LLC and Tech Mahindra also participated in the C-round as investors. Qualcomm has entered into a development collaboration agreement with Altiostar. Tech Mahindra has signed a value-added-reseller/system integrator contract with Altiostar.

"A round of this magnitude, backed by global technology leaders like Rakuten, Qualcomm Ventures and Tech Mahindra, signifies the immense 5G opportunity we have in front of us as well as the progress we have made developing our virtualized RAN technology. Our unique open vRAN solution is designed to improve the quality of experience, enhance spectral efficiency and significantly reduce Total Cost of Ownership. With this funding, and these strategic partners, we're excited about our ability to deliver this breakthrough software defined solution to network operators globally as they prepare for the 5G future," said Ashraf M. Dahod, president and chief executive officer at Altiostar.

http://www.altiostar.com

  • Altiostar provides a 5G-ready virtualized RAN software solution that supports open interfaces and disaggregates the hardware from the software to build an open multi-vendor web-scale network. The Altiostar solution supports macro and small cells, indoor and outdoor, enabling interference management, carrier aggregation and dual reception.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Rakuten to acquire Innoeye for cloud-native expertise

Rakuten Mobile agreed to acquire Innoeye, a privately-held company specializing in cloud technologies. The company has offices in Herndon, Virginia and Indore (MP), India. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Rakuten Mobile has already deployed Innoeye’s converged OSS, an end-to-end platform process automation solution, to support the 4G/5G cloud platform for its network launch in Japan. Plans are also underway to rollout this technology and expertise as part of the new Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP) offering to be made available to telecom companies and other enterprise customers around the world.

Rakuten Mobile has pursued a cloud-native architecture. The Rakuten Communications Platform contains all the elements of the Rakuten Mobile network, including telco applications and software from multiple vendors, OSS and BSS systems handling customer billing and activation systems, in addition to edge computing and virtual network management functions. Rakuten Communications Platform will be made available with an app-store-like interface where customers can tailor the platform to their local requirements.

“Since we first envisioned the launch of Rakuten Mobile two years ago, we have also planned to bring to market our own expertise and technology stack as a unique service that will enable operators around the world to deploy fully cloud-native telco networks of the future,” said Tareq Amin, Representative Director, Executive Vice President and CTO of Rakuten Mobile. “With the planned acquisition of Innoeye, we are one step closer to closing the circle in bringing to market a carrier grade telco cloud product that is as simple as click, purchase and deploy.”

“Innoeye is delighted by the opportunity to become part of the Rakuten Mobile family,” said Rajeev Gupta, CEO of Innoeye. “Joining hands with Rakuten Mobile will provide us with unique ability to contribute towards this large industry movement and create a highly innovative cloud-based communication platform that is open, scalable and highly secure. Rakuten Communications Platform will disrupt the industry and pave the way for the next level of innovation. We look forward to being a part of this journey.”

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Rakuten leverages Cisco's Virtual Ultra Packet Core for roaming

Rakuten Mobile is using Cisco’s Virtual Ultra Packet Core for an inter-network roaming service with KDDI mobile networks across Japan.

The LTE roaming service, defined by 3GPP and based on the S10 signaling interface standard, connects mobility management entities (MMEs) between Rakuten Mobile and KDDI. The MMEs track relevant user data sessions to ensure smooth handover from one operator’s network to the next. The data path will be managed by connecting the KDDI network with Cisco’s System Architecture Evolution Gateway VNF supporting a Control and User Plane Separation architecture.

“With the launch of our S10 roaming service, we are setting a new experience standard for service and device continuity over multiple networks,” said Tareq Amin, Representative Director, Executive Vice President and CTO, Rakuten Mobile. “With KDDI’s collaborative support, Rakuten Mobile and Cisco are showcasing new ways to combine our technology and talent to bring big benefits to the people who rely on our networks to stay connected every day.”

“Adding S10 handover between Rakuten Mobile and KDDI offers Rakuten Mobile subscribers a seamless mobility experience with undetected transition as they move between networks,” said Jonathan Davidson, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mass Scale Infrastructure, Cisco. “This functionality is rare to activate between operators, and we are proud to have come together on the vision to build, test and make this happen in record timing. With the industry-leading cloud-delivered mobile packet core, Cisco continues to redesign mobile networks to support the internet of the future, today.”

Monday, April 6, 2020

Rakuten joins Cloud Native Computing Foundation

Rakuten has joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as a silver member.

“Container technologies will play a pivotal role in the 5G-ready architecture of our new mobile network and other group systems,” said Dr. Ashiq Khan, Executive Officer and head of cloud infrastructure engineering and operations, Rakuten Mobile. “We are delighted to join the Linux Foundation and CNCF and with our development and operational know-how, we hope to enrich the CNCF and its innovative community by not being only a consumer but also an active contributor.”

“CNCF is excited to have Rakuten join as a silver member,” said Dan Kohn, executive director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. “We look forward to Rakuten's participation in the community and their contribution to the growth and development of cloud native technologies.”

Separately, Rakuten Mobile is using drones to conduct inspections of base stations for its mobile network.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Rakuten Mobile and NEC roll out Open RAN 5G

Rakuten Mobile and NEC have begun production and first shipments of a jointly-developed 5G radio unit (RU) .

The new domestically produced, high quality 5G RU is equipped with a 3.7 GHz frequency band massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) antenna in a compact, lightweight form factor with low power consumption. With the 5G RU, Rakuten Mobile will begin the buildout of its 5G network, starting with the construction of base stations in the Tokyo area*1, and work toward the launch of 5G commercial services in June 2020.

Rakuten Mobile is building the world’s first end-to-end fully virtualized cloud native network, and in October 2019 in Japan successfully implemented the world’s first open, virtualized, distributed radio access network (OpenRAN). In addition, Rakuten Mobile and NEC are also closely collaborating on BSS and OSS solutions for Rakuten Mobile’s 4G network operations.
The manufacturing is carried out at NEC Platforms, Ltd.’s Fukushima Plant.

“NEC’s 5G RU, developed and produced in Japan, will play a very important role in Rakuten Mobile’s fully virtualized cloud native mobile network,” said Tareq Amin, Rakuten Mobile Director, Vice President and CTO. “With the launch of production of the 5G radio unit, we will begin work on the construction of our 5G base stations and will aim to provide our subscribers with a cost efficient, highly secure, high quality 5G service.”

“NEC is very proud to be part of Rakuten Mobile’s advanced 5G network,” said Atsuo Kawamura, Executive Vice President and President of the Network Services Business Unit, NEC Corporation. “The 5G RU, produced at our Fukushima Plant, conforms with open architecture standards, and comes in a compact form factor with low power consumption. By expanding the open 5G ecosystem, NEC will contribute to the creation of new mobile services around the world.”

Rakuten selects NEC to build Open vRAN Architecture

Rakuten Mobile has selected NEC to build its 5G open vRAN infrastructure in Japan.

Through the partnership, Rakuten and NEC will jointly develop a 3.7 GHz massive MIMO 5G antenna radio unit (RU), which will be manufactured by NEC at its facilities in Japan. Rakuten and NEC/Netcracker are already working together on an end-to-end BSS/OSS solution to support the mobile network launch and subsequent operations.

Rakuten Mobile is building a fully virtualized, end-to-end cloud-native mobile network.

In April 2019, Rakuten Mobile received approval from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications for its 5G special radio station deployment plan and aims to launch 5G services in June 2020.

"We are very excited to partner with a network technology leader such as NEC in building the world's first 5G open RAN architecture here in Japan," said Tareq Amin, chief technology officer of Rakuten Mobile, Inc. "NEC's technology and expertise will allow us to not only cost-effectively create a highly secure, high quality 5G network, but by designing and producing the antennas in the local market, we look forward to contributing to the development of the Japanese telecommunications industry and economy."

"NEC is delighted to contribute to Rakuten Mobile's strategy for building the world's first fully virtualized, end-to-end cloud native mobile network," said Atsuo Kawamura, executive vice president and president of the Network Services Business Unit at NEC Corporation. "Going forward, NEC aims to drive the global expansion of virtualized network architecture with Rakuten Mobile."

Rakuten will use Small Cells powered by Qualcomm


Rakuten upcoming next-generation end-to-end cloud-native mobile network across Japan will use small cells based on Qualcomm FSM Small Cell Platforms. Rakuten plans to utilize small cells to reduce site acquisition and deployment cost and to provide indoor capacity. Rakuten will leverage network virtualization and small cells from the start and thereby create a network that can be scaled easily and deliver on the promise of 5G experiences to subscribers. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

F5 Networks supplies NFV for Rakuten Mobile

F5 Networks confirmed that it is supporting Rakuten Mobile's fully virtualized, cloud-native mobile network.

Specifically, Rakuten Mobile is using F5’s network functions virtualization (NFV) capabilities to optimize its new mobile network and accelerate its path to 5G services in 2020.

F5 said it has provided a full-suite N6/SGi-LAN solution consisting of virtualized CGNAT, SGi Firewall, DNS Transparent Cache, and IP Traffic Optimization Functions to deliver enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) services. F5’s NFV capabilities and offerings enabled Rakuten Mobile, Inc. to:

  • Simplify and optimize service orchestration
  • Ensure application availability, performance, and security
  • Have unmatched freedom and agility in deployment of services
  • Enable a higher throughput, low-latency network and allow predictable scaling for services

Earlier this year, F5 announced several new solutions and enhancements designed to allow service providers to launch 5G services. These offerings enable service providers to maximize the investments in their current 4G networks, while optimizing their infrastructures with the scale to securely deploy emerging 5G.

“Rakuten, one of Japan’s most innovative and well-known brands, is an ideal company to partner with on strategic projects like this,” said James Feger, VP and General Manager of Service Provider business at F5.

“After years of preparing for 5G, we’re seeing progress as service providers like Rakuten begin to implement the infrastructure to make its promise a reality,” Yuichi Gonda, Regional VP at F5 Networks Japan, added. “With F5’s proven carrier-grade solutions, service providers like Rakuten Mobile can optimize their networks, monetize new 5G solutions and applications, and ensure world-class security of their network and subscribers.”

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Rakuten selects NEC to build Open vRAN Architecture

Rakuten Mobile has selected NEC to build its 5G open vRAN infrastructure in Japan.

Through the partnership, Rakuten and NEC will jointly develop a 3.7 GHz massive MIMO 5G antenna radio unit (RU), which will be manufactured by NEC at its facilities in Japan. Rakuten and NEC/Netcracker are already working together on an end-to-end BSS/OSS solution to support the mobile network launch and subsequent operations.

Rakuten Mobile is building a fully virtualized, end-to-end cloud-native mobile network.

In April 2019, Rakuten Mobile received approval from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications for its 5G special radio station deployment plan and aims to launch 5G services in June 2020.

"We are very excited to partner with a network technology leader such as NEC in building the world's first 5G open RAN architecture here in Japan," said Tareq Amin, chief technology officer of Rakuten Mobile, Inc. "NEC's technology and expertise will allow us to not only cost-effectively create a highly secure, high quality 5G network, but by designing and producing the antennas in the local market, we look forward to contributing to the development of the Japanese telecommunications industry and economy."

"NEC is delighted to contribute to Rakuten Mobile's strategy for building the world's first fully virtualized, end-to-end cloud native mobile network," said Atsuo Kawamura, executive vice president and president of the Network Services Business Unit at NEC Corporation. "Going forward, NEC aims to drive the global expansion of virtualized network architecture with Rakuten Mobile."

Rakuten will use Small Cells powered by Qualcomm


Rakuten upcoming next-generation end-to-end cloud-native mobile network across Japan will use small cells based on Qualcomm FSM Small Cell Platforms. Rakuten plans to utilize small cells to reduce site acquisition and deployment cost and to provide indoor capacity. Rakuten will leverage network virtualization and small cells from the start and thereby create a network that can be scaled easily and deliver on the promise of 5G experiences to subscribers. Qualcomm's...

Rakuten picks Mavenir's NFV-Based RCS


Rakuten, which is preparing to launch Japan’s newest mobile network, selected Mavenir for. The deployment will include Mavenir’s 5G ready platform that monetizes voice and messaging in a single application for least-cost roaming, integration to Rakuten ID single sign-on, that is completely cloud-based with full NFV deployed on the Rakuten Cloud Platform. Mavenir’s fully virtualized RCS AS and Client will enable Rakuten to launch new innovative services...

Rakuten invests in Altiostar for virtual RAN


Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce and fintech company and soon to be the operator of Japan’s newest mobile network, will make a strategic investment in Altiostar Networks, a start-up based in Tewksbury, Mass. The investment is subject to approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Altiostar provides a 5G-ready virtualized RAN software solution that supports open interfaces and disaggregates the hardware from the software...

Rakuten picks VIAVI to validate cloud-native mobile network


Rakuten, one of the world's leading internet services companies and soon to be the newest mobile network operator in Japan, selected the VIAVI TM500 system to support the rapid deployment of a nationwide, end-to-end cloud-native mobile network. Rakuten offers e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications services to over one billion members worldwide. The company received approval for its 4th generation mobile communications system (4G)...

Monday, February 25, 2019

Rakuten will use Small Cells powered by Qualcomm

Rakuten upcoming next-generation end-to-end cloud-native mobile network across Japan will use small cells based on Qualcomm FSM Small Cell Platforms.

Rakuten plans to utilize small cells to reduce site acquisition and deployment cost and to provide indoor capacity. Rakuten will leverage network virtualization and small cells from the start and thereby create a network that can be scaled easily and deliver on the promise of 5G experiences to subscribers.

Qualcomm's solution offers advanced LTE features and a roadmap towards 5G-NR via the FSM Small Cell 5G Platform.

“We are very excited to work with leading technology leaders such as Qualcomm Technologies as we advance towards realizing our vision of creating the world’s first end-to-end cloud-native mobile network,” said Tareq Amin, chief technology officer of Rakuten Mobile Network, Inc.

“By designing a new mobile network with small cells as a key component, and with 5G-readiness in mind, Rakuten can intelligently deliver 4G LTE and 5G performance where it is needed to bring enhanced experiences for their subscribers,” said Rahul Patel, senior vice president and general manager, connectivity and networking, Qualcomm Technologies.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Rakuten picks Mavenir's NFV-Based RCS

Rakuten, which is preparing to launch Japan’s newest mobile network, selected Mavenir for.

The deployment will include Mavenir’s 5G ready platform that monetizes voice and messaging in a single application for least-cost roaming, integration to Rakuten ID single sign-on, that is completely cloud-based with full NFV deployed on the Rakuten Cloud Platform. Mavenir’s fully virtualized RCS AS and Client will enable Rakuten to launch new innovative services quickly for enterprises and subscribers.

“As Rakuten works to build the world’s first end-to-end cloud-native mobile network, partnering on development of next-generation voice and messaging services with Mavenir takes us one step closer to launch of a network without parallel,” said Rakuten Mobile Network CTO Tareq Amin. “Driving disruptive innovation like this in the telecommunications sector will position us to provide our subscribers in Japan with flexible, stable and competitive services.”

“As a leading messaging vendor for RCS services worldwide, Mavenir is in a unique position to make RCS successful and cost effective for Rakuten. Our virtualized, cloud-based RCS solution enables us to help Rakuten quickly and easily provide voice and messaging infrastructure as they prepare for their network launch later this year,” said Pardeep Kohli, President and CEO of Mavenir. “This selection underscores our ability to partner with innovative operators to deliver best-in-class software solutions in multi-vendor environments.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Rakuten invests in Altiostar for virtual RAN

Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce and fintech company and soon to be the operator of Japan’s newest mobile network, will make a strategic investment in Altiostar Networks, a start-up based in Tewksbury, Mass. The investment is subject to approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

Altiostar provides a 5G-ready virtualized RAN software solution that supports open interfaces and disaggregates the hardware from the software to build an open multi-vendor web-scale network. The Altiostar solution supports macro and small cells, indoor and outdoor, enabling interference management, carrier aggregation and dual reception.

Rakuten said it is on track with the deployment of a fully virtualized mobile network in Japan by October 2019.

“Our vision for Rakuten Mobile Network is to build the world’s first end-to-end, fully virtualized, software-defined mobile network: A network that innovates at the Speed-of-Software and scales at the Speed-of-Cloud. Altiostar technology is key to realizing this vision within the year,” said Tareq Amin, CTO of Rakuten Mobile Network. “The whole Rakuten team is looking forward to working closely with Altiostar to take a leadership role in driving RAN virtualization and to bring disruptive innovation to the mobile industry.”

“Open RAN architecture and virtualization are key to building software-centric networks that can scale and adapt to meet an explosion of devices and applications driving service velocity and profits,” said Ashraf Dahod, CEO of Altiostar Networks. “This funding is going to help us expand our technology innovation to help operators like Rakuten to push new business models and bring affordable broadband to the masses through web-scale mobile networks.”

In addition to the investment, Rakuten Mobile Network President Yoshihisa Yamada and Chief Technology Officer Tareq Amin will join the board of Altiostar upon completion of the transaction.

http://www.altiostar.com

Sunday, April 22, 2018

It may not be too late for cloud giants to enter the mobile market

It was over seven years ago, in December 2010, that NTT DOCOMO launched its 4G LTE network. Japan, of course, was already heavily saturated with 3G coverage and mobile penetration rates were among the highest in the world. DOCOMO’s 4G network was an instant success and very quickly itd subscribers upgraded their phones and moved onto mobile data plans. DOCOMO's network grew and grew, and so did those of its competitors – KDDI and Softbank Mobile. Since then, the Japanese population has not given up their mobile devices. Like everywhere, people are checking their phones all day long, from the moment they awake till late at night.

With their upcoming launch of commercial 5G services over the next 2 years, DOCOMO and KDDI are looking for history to repeat. They will be among the first operators worldwide to deploy the next generation of mobile technology and they hope the market will respond. But, there is a surprise twist. A new entrant, Rakuten, plans to launch a new 4G network by October 2019 – nearly nine years behind the market leaders, and in a market that seems oversaturated and with this little prospect of growth for the “old wave” technology.

This week, Rakuten received approval from Japan’s Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications to launch a new 4G network.based on its own mobile base stations.

Rakuten Mobile Network will operate over the 1.7 GHz frequency band with over 1,825 MHz of spectrum. The company aims to launch service in October 2019. The company plans to raise a maximum of JPY 600 billion to fund the rollout of the network. Of this, Rakuten Inc. (the parent company) plans to provide a maximum of JPY 200 billion - a hedge on its bet.

Rakuten – Japan’s e-commerce giant

Founded in 1999 by Hiroshi Mikitan, Rakuten is Japan’s e-commerce leader – the local equivalent of Amazon or Alibaba – but far from being a me-too follower, the company has consistently innovated and acquired to advance its vision. It now offers online merchandise for consumers and businesses, life insurance, fire insurance, travel insurance, digital content, an advertising network, and a growing list of communications services. Rakuten also operates the country’s biggest Internet bank and third-largest credit card company by transaction value.



Outside of Japan, Rakuten’s  major acquisitions include Buy.com (now Rakuten.com in the US), PriceMinister (France), Ikeda (now Rakuten Brasil), Tradoria (now Rakuten Deutschland), Play.com (now Rakuten.co.uk in the UK), Wuaki.tv (now Rakuten TV in Spain), Kobo Inc. (now Rakuten Kobo in Canada), Viber (now Rakuten Viber), Ebates, Viki (now Rakuten Viki), OverDrive, Inc. (now Rakuten OverDrive), Slice (now Rakuten Slice) and The Grommet.
Until now, Rakuten has experimented with being a mobile virtual network operator, claiming 1.5 million users. Going forward, Rakuten reckons that around JPY 600 billion is enough to build a nationwide network of 4G base stations. The company says it has poached key executives from the other three big mobile operators. It is also known to be seeking advice from network equipment suppliers about how to rollout a nationwide network as quickly and efficiently as possible.

A key metric for Rakuten is its global gross transaction value, which is the sum total of everything sold on its platform. For 2017, that figure was up 21%.

Strategic thinking

Given its current size and the deep pull from its consumer base, one might expect that it would be easier and faster for Rakuten to buy out one of the three existing mobile operators compared with the time and trouble of building a whole new 4G network.  Practically speaking, no such option exists in Japan for Rakuten. NTT Docomo obviously is out of reach. KDDI is doing well enough on its own as the main challenger to Docomo, so is unlikely to be interested. And Softbank Japan, with Masayoshi Son at its helm, has big ambitions of its own, making the prospects of a merger or buyout with Rakuten unlikely.

For Rakuten, the value of becoming a mobile operator is not to battle it out with Docomo in hopes of poaching subscribers and earning a thin margin on the sale of monthly 4G data plans. Rakuten’s strategic thoughts must centre on building direct access to its e-shopping consumers.  It might even be willing to accept losses in the first years of operating the forthcoming mobile network, in return for a building a better e-commerce experience for its consumers.

In India, Reliance Jio is another late-comer to the mobile market and it too has been willing to suffer deep losses to build its new nationwide network and to establish its subscriber base. However, in Jio case, there is not a thriving e-commerce business to justify the risk.
There are however other cloud giants who will be watching Rakuten’s entrance into the mobile business. Alibaba might be constrained in doing so in its home market, unless the government wants a fourth competitor. But conceivably Alibaba could try its luck as a mobile operator overseas. The other big player of course is Amazon, who might very well be studying Rakuten’s moves.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Rakuten to launch new 4G network in Japan

Rakuten, the leading e-commerce company in Japan, received approval from the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications to launch the nation's 4th 4G network.

Rakuten Mobile Network will operate over the 1.7 GHz frequency band with over 1,825 MHz of spectrum. The company aims to launch service in October 2019.

Rakuten Mobile Network plans to raise a maximum of JPY 600 billion to fund the rollout of the network. Of this, Rakuten Inc. (the parent company) plans to provide a maximum of JPY 200 billion.