Rakuten Mobile’s Open Virtual Radio Access Network at the Pace of Technology Innovation

by Jiancao Hou | 1Q 2020 | IN-5753
As 5G New Radio (NR) networks emerge, the rapid growth of data traffic and different types of end user requirements are now motivating mobile operators to look for new service revenue opportunities and reduce the cost of deploying and operating networks. To drive innovation in establishing a new cost-effective and flexible operating strategy, Rakuten Mobile started to develop the world’s first End-to-End (E2E) cloud-native mobile network in April 2019, with one of its main focuses being open virtualized Radio Access Network (vRAN). It is normal for 60% to 65% of the total cost of ownership of a network in developed markets to be in the RAN domain. Rakuten’s open vRAN approach expects to reduce approximately 30% Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) saving on site development and approximately 40% saving in Operational Expenditure (OPEX) compared to traditional RAN systems. As of March 2020, the network is in the test phase, with more than 25,000 active subscribers.

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