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Rakuten’s 5G: cloud native, OpenRAN and collaboration

  • 2 minute read
  • Published by Elizabeth Coyne on 21 Oct 2020
  • Last modified 21 Oct 2020
Rakuten is thinking outside the box when it comes to 5G by focusing on cloud-native IT, OpenRAN and collaboration in order to prepare for a future built on automation and autonomous networks, according to Tareq Amin, Chief Technology Officer and Group Executive Vice President, Rakuten Mobile, who spoke on October 14 during Week 2 of TM Forum’s Digital Transformation World Summit.

“We wanted to approach the construction of [our 5G] network from a very different point of view,” said Amin. Rakuten learned the capabilities and advantages of virtualization from rolling out 4G and applied those operational and architectural learnings when it came to making decisions about 5 but not in the way you’d expect.

“With 5G we went a step further. We wanted to move away from virtualization and move into a completely cloud-native architecture,” he said.

“We believe that 5G should always start with cloud. The standardization of hardware and moving into containers, we think will make a huge difference.”

In addition to breaking away from virtualization, Rakuten intends to go down the OpenRAN route to prepare for a future of autonomous networks. OpenRAN stands for open radio access networks and is an approach based on general-purpose, vendor-neutral hardware and software.

“We believe that OpenRAN is absolutely critical element to our future destiny as we head toward automation and autonomous networks,” Amin said. “I don’t see [the industry] talking about this enough. … Automation is the underpinning of everything that we are going to do in the network.”

In order to reap the benefits of automation in the network, the architecture needs to support telemetry, advanced analytics and OSS and BSS transformation, he added.

Finally, Amin said that collaboration is another key element to delivering 5G. “Open innovation is a must and a new way to achieve the results that everyone is looking for whether you are a supplier or a mobile operator,” he said. “I think there is a brilliant opportunity for us to engage together.”

Read more about Rakuten in TM Forum’s report, “Rakuten Mobile: No ordinary telco.” You can watch live and on-demand Digital Transformation World Series content now! Not registered for DTWS yet? There’s still time. Join 12,000 of your peers online through November 12. CSPs receive complimentary passes. Sign up here.

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