E-commerce services provider Rakuten has selected Nokia to build a new mobile network in Japan. With the group’s Rakuten Mobile Network venture looking to become the country’s fourth MNO when it kicks off services in October 2019, Nokia will provide full turnkey services to plan, manage, deploy and integrate cloud RAN, AirGile cloud-native core network technology and several Nokia software functions. The new distributed cloud network, along with Nokia and Rakuten’s work to automate the network build and deployment process, should help reduce network operation costs and enhance operational efficiencies, Nokia confirmed in a press release. The new network will be deployed across Japan – including Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya – and use Nokia Cloud RAN, AirScale radios (remote radio heads) and the Nokia AirGile cloud-native core, incorporating technologies such as Nokia IP Multimedia Subsystem, Session Border Controller and Telco Application Server for the fast rollout of services such as VoLTE.
In a separate development, Converge Network Digest writes that as part of its drive to establish Japan’s fourth MNO, Rakuten plans to make a strategic investment in Altiostar Networks, a US-based start-up that provides 5G-ready virtualised RAN software solutions that ‘support open interfaces and disaggregates the hardware from the software to build an open multi-vendor web-scale network’. It also supports macro and small cells, indoor and outdoor, enabling interference management, carrier aggregation and dual reception, the press release reads. The investment is subject to approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Rakuten, meanwhile, has confirmed it is on track with the deployment of a fully virtualised mobile network in Japan by October 2019.