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Rakuten Mobile and NEC to build Open vRAN Architecture in Japan

Rakuten Mobile

Rakuten Mobile, Inc. and NEC Corporation announced that the two companies have joined hands to build the world’s first 5G open vRAN architecture in Japan. NEC has been chosen to be the network equipment provider of 5G for Rakuten Mobile’s new and innovative network.

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. NEC’s RU are perfect for 5G conditions as they are compact, lightweight and consume a less power, that reduces installation and operation costs.

Rakuten Mobile is building the world’s first completely virtualized, end-to-end cloud-native mobile network. This advanced network is fully virtualized from radio access network to core and adopts 5G systems architecture from launch. In April 2019, Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications gave approval to Rakuten Mobile for its 5G special radio station deployment plan. The company aims to launch 5G services in June 2020.

In building the network, Rakuten is actively engaging with industry leaders in crafting solutions to nurture an open ecosystem. Rakuten and NEC are already working together on an end-to-end BSS/OSS solution to support the mobile network launch and subsequent operations. The expansion of the partnership with NEC to include 5G network equipment further builds upon Rakuten’s vision of the disaggregation of hardware and software and true end-to-end virtualization of mobile networks, especially in radio access.

“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.”

With 5G, the Rakuten Group and Rakuten Mobile aim to not only improve convenience for their users, but also to utilize the technology in a variety of fields and form new business opportunities to resolve social issues and support in regional development.

NEC focuses on providing “Solutions for Society.” For this, it will leverage its technological strengths in network construction to support operators in building out their 5G networks and accelerate the expansion of its operations internationally.

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