Rakuten Touts AT&T, Cisco, Nokia, Qualcomm ORAN Deals

March 3, 2022

Cisco and Rakuten Symphony are combining strengths to help global service providers prepare the Internet for the Future. In Barcelona, the companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding to accelerate the delivery for cloud-native, virtualized 4G/5G mobile networks based on Open Radio Access Network (ORAN) technology.

Building upon the success of Rakuten Mobile’s industry-first innovative cloud-native network architecture, Rakuten Symphony and Cisco are combining strengths to offer solutions which will allow mobile operators to compete more effectively in the cloud era. Together, the companies are addressing the industry need for massive transformation to reduce costs, enhance agility and meet future technical, regulatory and environmental requirements for sustainability.

The companies have crossed many important milestones over the last four years, and they are now applying best practices to develop software-defined solutions that are optimized for the competitive mobile environment, based on automated, agile, high-performance infrastructure.

Notable components of the solutions include Cisco’s leading mobile, routing, switching, and automation portfolios, along with Rakuten Symphony’s Open RAN orchestration and the full suite of Rakuten Symphony’s Symworld applications. The two companies plan to work together to validate and certify these solutions for service providers and deliver systems that perform across the full lifecycle from design to deployment and operations.

“I am very pleased to see both organizations come together and combine strengths. We believe our collaboration with Cisco will bring something quite unique in the industry solving the industry’s current challenges when it comes to deploying new generations of networks. The principles of open architecture, cloud, virtualization and automation are essential elements of the new networks that operators will be rolling out in the near future,” said Tareq Amin, CEO, Rakuten Symphony. “Using open interfaces, virtualization, cloud, and automation from Rakuten Symphony along with Cisco’s well established network footprint and offering will give telcos an opportunity to build and operate their networks in significantly better ways.”

“We have proven what the benefits of an open, cloud-driven, 5G-powered mobile network can do to transform the way people connect to do more and get more of everything today,” said Jonathan Davidson, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Mass-Scale Infrastructure Group, Cisco. “Together with Rakuten Symphony, we have the unique opportunity to offer global service providers an alternative to legacy RAN, with a turnkey option to transform their networks to be more intuitive and automated to support the ever-evolving needs for connectivity.”

Also, AT&T and Rakuten Symphony have signed a collaboration agreement to enhance solutions within the Symworld platform to accelerate network planning and deployment in both greenfield and brownfield environments. The companies aim to develop and bring to market solutions through the platform by drawing on technologies, experience, and expertise currently used for widescale network deployments by AT&T in the U.S. and Rakuten Mobile in Japan.

AT&T is currently deploying Rakuten Symphony’s Site Manager, a solutions suite within the Symworld platform that simplifies the design and build workflows for network rollouts. The suite is for both wireless and wireline networks and designed to drive significantly faster deployment cycles. As part of the initial phase of the agreement, the companies are integrating AT&T’s homegrown core RANFT technology platform for capacity planning within the solutions suite. The RANFT tool utilizes AT&T experience and expertise on network builds across various topographies and densities and adds a new dimension to Rakuten Symphony’s Site Manager and more specifically RAN Commander for capacity planning within the suite of tools.

Furthermore, Building on the existing multi-year relationship, Nokia, Rakuten Mobile and Rakuten Symphony made plans to further accelerate industry change with the inclusion of all Nokia cloud-native Core software on Rakuten Symphony’s Symworld marketplace. The development will support Rakuten Symphony to be the first to enable browsing, selecting, and installing of software into live network operations via a “one-click” operation for communication service providers (CSPs).

The Symworld marketplace was created to simplify the process of telecom application onboarding and making approved applications generally available for all Symworld customers. The Symworld platform digitalizes all telecom processes for planning, deploying, securing, and monitoring the software in live telecom networks; and makes Symworld marketplace applications one click away from deployment.

All telecom software is becoming cloud-native and possible to procure through a marketplace experience. Nokia is well-placed to deliver on that experience, having already rearchitected its software applications in recent years to make them fully cloud-native and deployable in any cloud environment, edge, public or private.

The Symworld marketplace by Rakuten Symphony is the first telecom marketplace in the world designed to serve the needs of CSPs and is creating a marketplace of Rakuten and third-party applications in order to provide for the rapid procurement and delivery of telco services as 5G rollouts advance.

Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Symphony, Inc., said: "We have a long and successful relationship with Nokia in Rakuten Mobile and together in Japan we have radically accelerated change in the telecom industry. We want to do more and we are extremely happy to partner with Nokia now to drive the marketplace way of working in the live network with Nokia’s world class cloud-native core products. The SymworldTM marketplace approach to deployment changes system integration from being months away, to being days or hours away.”

Raghav Sahgal, President of Cloud and Network Services at Nokia, said: “As a telecom cloud-native software leader and a mobile core technology leader, Nokia’s Cloud and Network Solutions will provide all our cloud-native Core software and work with Rakuten Symphony to enrich the SymworldTM marketplace for all mobile operators. We look forward to this new chapter with Rakuten Mobile and Rakuten Symphony and supporting their disruptive ambitions in the telco space.”

Moreover, Rakuten Symphony and Qualcomm have plans to collaborate to develop a next-generation 5G Radio Unit (RU) with Massive MIMO capabilities and distributed units (DUs).

Using the Qualcomm® X100 5G RAN Accelerator Card and high-performance Massive MIMO Qualcomm® QRU100 5G RAN Platform, the new products are designed to enhance Rakuten Symphony’s Symware product portfolio of Open RAN solutions that enable the deployment of innovative, virtualized, and open 5G networks at scale and help operators to meet performance demands at the edge.

Around the world, operators are beginning to deploy Open RAN and cloud-native architecture in their networks which offer greater agility and provide new levels of automation while broadening and securing their supply chain. Network operators are facing the difficult challenge of rolling out cost-effective 5G network infrastructure, while addressing the complexities of supporting the demands of next-generation networks for high capacity and low latency needed to enhance user experiences to consumers. With the accelerated growth in mobile data traffic, network operators are seeking higher capacity platforms to satisfy end users’ needs.

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.

This high-performance and power-efficient solution, powered by Qualcomm QRU100 5G RAN Platform with Massive MIMO capabilities and Qualcomm X100 5G RAN Accelerator Card, will also simplify and lower total cost of ownership of 5G deployments.

Combining Rakuten Symphony’s cloud-native and Open RAN-based network expertise with Qualcomm Technologies’ technology leadership in developing high performance and low power Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) 5G solutions for device and infrastructure products will redefine how mobile networks are designed and how next-gen services are delivered, offering operators new opportunities to create innovation within their networks.

"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. “As a technology leader in 5G, Qualcomm Technologies is dedicated to driving the industry forward and pushing the envelope of innovation. We can only achieve this goal by working with other likeminded industry leaders and innovators such as Rakuten Symphony.”

“We are delighted to enter a new phase in our longtime relationship with Rakuten Mobile and Rakuten Symphony, building on our shared vision to make 5G networks more flexible, cost efficient and transforming them into a platform for innovation with our comprehensive Qualcomm® 5G RAN Platforms,” said Junko Sunaga, vice president, Qualcomm Japan GK, and president, Qualcomm Japan. “Joining forces with Rakuten Mobile and Rakuten Symphony is at the heart of advancing the cellular ecosystem and accelerating the innovation cycle to enable the fast track of deploying modern networks at scale. We look forward to continuing this collaboration.”

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