Rakuten Mobile Builds Open RAN Center in the U.K.

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Japan-based Rakuten Mobile, Inc., Rakuten Symphony, Inc. and Rakuten Symphony UK Ltd. last week announced plans to build an Open RAN Customer Experience Center at the Rakuten Symphony offices in the United Kingdom by March 2023. The center will offer telecom operators and industry suppliers in the European and Middle East region direct experience and testing of the latest technological advances in the field. Rakuten Symphony plans to use the facility with partners to validate equipment interoperability, establish exhibition facilities to demonstrate the latest technologies and conduct workshops.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to build our first Open RAN Customer Experience Center in the U.K. where we can provide an environment for testing Open RAN solutions, as well as establish a hub for Open RAN thought leadership in Europe and the Middle East,” said Nobuyuki Uchida, executive officer, division manager, technology, strategy & compliance division at Rakuten Mobile, Inc. He’s also senior vice president of global government relations, Rakuten Symphony. 

Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) and the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport made a joint announcement regarding their commitment to supplier diversity in the telecommunications sector. As part of this commitment, Japan’s MIC called for applications for research projects that would both undertake validation of equipment interoperability between Japanese suppliers and global suppliers, as well as promote public awareness about Open RAN networks.  

Rakuten Mobile’s proposal to establish a new Open RAN Customer Experience Center and evaluate interoperable technologies was selected for funding by MIC, because of its potential to contribute to this global strategic partnership between the U.K. and Japan.

Nastasi Karaiskos, managing director, Rakuten Symphony UK commented, “We are very grateful for the support of the Japanese government and look forward to establishing a foundation for Open RAN testing, education and thought leadership here in the U.K.”

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