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Rakuten Buys Altiostar for $1B

August 5, 2021

Rakuten Group has acquired U.S.-based mobile technology company, Altiostar Networks, Inc., at a total valuation of Altiostar at USD 1B+. Rakuten and Altiostar will partner to accelerate deployment of software-centric, virtualized services for the mobile industry across the globe.

Altiostar’s 4G and 5G open virtual Radio Access Network (Open vRAN) solutions are accelerating the telecommunications industry’s paradigm shift to web-scale cloud native mobile networks. Its best-in-class software supports open interfaces and virtualizes the baseband unit to build a disaggregated multi-vendor mobile network, enabling mobile network operators to quickly adapt the network for different services and automate operations to rapidly scale the network and reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Altiostar supports a diverse Open RAN ecosystem and its O-RAN compliant solution has been deployed globally, including with Rakuten Mobile in Japan.

“We’re entering a new era where mobile network operators can choose how to build and deploy a network by working with the world’s most innovative software companies to create open and interoperable solutions,” commented Rakuten Group CEO, Mickey Mikitani. “We’re delighted to welcome the Altiostar team to the Rakuten family as we share a common passion for empowering mobile networks through disruptive innovation, offering mobile operators around the world secure, cost-effective and highly agile technology.”

Altiostar already offers its suite of Open vRAN network functions on the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP). RCP is a fully virtualized, cloud-native telco platform which allows customers to easily and quickly build secure and open mobile networks at lower cost. RCP offers telcos, enterprises and government customers a marketplace from which they can select technologies to empower deployment of a 4G or 5G mobile network on Open RAN.

Altiostar Networks CEO, Ashraf Dahod commented: “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. Becoming a Rakuten Group company will allow us to build on our foundation and accelerate our technology development to help operators to innovate, explore new business models and bring affordable broadband to the masses through web-scale mobile networks.”

The initial investment by Rakuten into Altiostar was completed in May 2019 after approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

Dahod will continue as CEO, as well as assume a key role in Rakuten’s global RCP organization. Altiostar will continue to operate from its Tewksbury, Massachusetts headquarters.

After the successful launch of Rakuten Mobile’s 4G network in April 2020, Altiostar and Rakuten launched the world’s first container-based, cloud-native 5G radio access network (RAN) in September 2020. Altiostar is also growing its global operations with the expansion of its Indian R&D center and UK-based open vRAN engineering lab, as well as the opening of regional hubs close to its customers. In addition to Rakuten Mobile, Altiostar has been selected by multiple Mobile Network Operators among which include Airtel in India, Dish in the United States and Telefonica in Europe and Latam. Altiostar has key partner relationships in place with RCP, Cisco, VMware, Dell, Fujitsu, IBM/Red Hat, Intel, NEC, Qualcomm, Sterlite, Tech Mahindra, Facebook Connectivity and public cloud providers. Altiostar is a member of the O-RAN ALLIANCE, the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), and a board member of the Open RAN Policy Coalition.

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