In telecom, leadership should mean more than a race to create the boxes for the next G.

Leadership is being brave enough to take disruptive technologies from the lab and prove them in large scale deployments.

Rakuten is leading the way in challenging outdated conventions, learning from other industries, and creating the innovations required to take telecom into a new era.

Our solutions take inspiration from the hyperscale giants as opposed to other telecom players. Hyperscale giants have already solved the kinds of problems that operators increasingly need to solve: how to manage large fleets of infrastructure as one autonomous, distributed, self-healing system, and how to create platforms of operation rather than islands of specialty.

Leading

the team

Tareq Amin

Tareq Amin

Group Executive Vice President, Rakuten Group
Chief Executive Officer, Rakuten Mobile
Chief Executive Officer, Rakuten Symphony

Amin, joined Rakuten Group in 2018 as the first chief technology officer of Rakuten Mobile and led the design and roll-out in Japan of the world’s first fully virtualized cloud-native mobile network.

In 2021, Amin was appointed as chief executive officer of Rakuten Symphony, a Rakuten Group company launched in August 2021 with a vision to reimagine telecom for a hyperscale era, delivering the convergence of IT and telecom networks. Under Amin’s leadership, Rakuten Symphony draws on the prove n technologies and operating principles of hyperscale leaders, to create a unique offering: a modern, industrial-scale automation platform built specifically for telecom.

In 2022, Amin was appointed as chief executive officer of Rakuten Mobile to ignite the next stage of growth in Japan and drive synergies between the global business and Rakuten Mobile.

With a career in the mobile network industry spanning almost two decades, prior to joining Rakuten in 2018, Amin was a key contributor to the transformation of the mobile industry in India as Senior Vice President of Technology Development and Automation for Reliance Jio. Prior to that, he served as Vice President of Carrier Solutions for Huawei and as Senior Director of National Planning & Performance at T-Mobile. 

Amin holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Physics from PortlandState University in Oregon.

Raghunath Hariharan

Raghunath Hariharan

Chief Technology Officer

Raghunath Hariharan is a forward-thinking, innovation-oriented technologist with more than 25 years of experience in architecting, designing, developing and deploying telecommunication networks. He brings to the role exceptional leadership skills and thrives in solving complex problems and handling pressure situations. Raghu was instrumental in the creation of a virtualized RAN solution that has since become the standard mechanism to build and deploy modern telecommunication networks for 4G, 5G and beyond.

Previously, as CTO of Altiostar Networks (now a part of Rakuten Symphony), Raghu headed systems engineering, architecture and algorithm development for the organization. He was also one of the earliest employees of Altiostar Networks Inc., playing a pivotal role in building and establishing the company from the ground-up.

Prior to joining Altiostar, Raghu spent more than a decade at Motorola Networks, where he worked on a variety of cellular technologies from 2G to 4G and in various capacities from a developer to an architect.

Raghu has received many accolades in his career including a best paper award at IEEE-VTC and was part of the Altiostar team that recognized at the 2017 GLOMO awards for best Overall Mobile Technology and Best Technology Breakthrough for virtualized RAN. He has four granted patents with more in the pipeline.

He has a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Dallas and a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Telecommunication from the University of Mumbai.

Azita Arvani

Azita Arvani

General Manager - Americas
Head of Global Government Affairs and Industry Relations

Arvani works with telco operators, governments and enterprises with the vision to connect everyone and everything to fulfill their potential for a sustainable future.

Deploying the latest digital technologies including 5G, AI, IoT, cloud, and AR/VR, Arvani has created new businesses, developed products, and built partnerships for both established Fortune 500 companies as well as rapid-growth startups. Prior to Rakuten, Arvani served as Head of Innovation Partnering & Venture Management at Nokia.

Arvani has also held senior leadership and advisory roles at Docomo, Xerox, and Upek (now part of Apple), among others. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Open RAN Policy Coalition on behalf of Rakuten Mobile.

Arvani holds a Master of Science in Management from Stanford University (Sloan Fellow), a Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science in Math/Computer Science (Magna Cum Laude) from University of California, Los Angeles. She is recognized as an avid evangelist of true digital transformation for telcos as well as other industries.

Rabih Dabboussi

Rabih Dabboussi

Chief Business Officer

Rabih Dabboussi is Chief Business Officer of Rakuten Symphony, a new business organization within the Rakuten Group to spearhead the global adoption of cloud-native open RAN infrastructure and services. In this role, Dabboussi is responsible for bringing Rakuten Symphony’s telco solutions, including Symworld, to operators, governments and enterprises around the world.

Dabboussi is a seasoned and highly recognized industry expert who brings more than two decades of experience in the mobile industry to Rakuten, including a 20-year progressive career at Cisco Systems in diverse roles of R&D, technology consulting, business development, and sales leadership. After assignments advising mobile operators and large enterprise customers worldwide, he became the managing director for Cisco in the UAE in 2012 until he left Cisco in 2016.

After Cisco, Rabih spent four years helping to establish startups in the areas of secure mobile communications, cyber security, and the digital transformation of governments and enterprises.

Dabboussi is multilingual in English, French and Arabic and has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from North Carolina State University. Rabih holds multiple technology innovations and US issued patents in his name.

Zia Syed

Zia Syed

President, Symworld™ Platform

Zia Syed is the President of Symworld Platform Business Group at Rakuten Symphony. He has extensive experience in building distributed cloud and telecom systems. Zial eads the effort to fully integrate the software from Rakuten Symphony acquisitions and from partner companies into the Symworld Platform. His focus is on unlocking the full capabilities of the Symworld Platform to help mobile network operators speed the efforts to overcome operational complexity and deliver differentiated services. This includes driving customer confidence in the power of automation at scale.

Before joining Rakuten, he was CTO, 5G Solutions at Dell Technologies. Before Dell, Syed spent nearly a decade at Ericsson with leadership roles including CTO and VP of product engineering, Head of Ericsson Industry Connect, and CTO, Business Innovation 5G and Edge.

He earned a BE, Computer Engineering at NED University of Engineering and Technology, and MSc, Advance Software Engineering at University of York.

Partha Seetala

Partha Seetala

President, Cloud Business Unit

Partha Seetala is the President of the Cloud Business Unit at Rakuten Symphony and formerly Founder and CEO at Robin.io. With more than 20 years of technology and product vision and expertise, he has taken multiple fully-featured products from concept to market. He has conceived, designed and built products in Scale-out distributed storage, File Systems, Networking, Distributed Systems, Big Data, and Information Analytics and Containers/Kubernetes space.

Previously he was a distinguished Engineer at Symantec’s information and storage management business, known as Veritas. In that capacity, he conceived, architected and led engineering teams to take multiple products from concept to market. He was also an adviser on multi-million-dollar product lines including NetBackup, Cluster File System, Veritas Cluster Server, and Information Fabric. He holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Minnesota.

Olivier Alluis

Olivier Alluis

President, Digital Experience Business Unit
President - France

Mr Alluis is president of the Rakuten Symphony Digital Experience Business Unit from September 1st 2021, taking leadership responsibility for BSS, Marketplace, and international wholesale business. He is reporting to Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Symphony.

Mr Alluis has been also appointed as president of Rakuten Symphony France on February 14th  2022, leading efforts to expand the adoption of Rakuten Symphony’s solutions in the country and contributing to the Open RAN ecosystem development in France & Europe.

Mr Alluis joined Rakuten Group in 2017 as Deputy CEO of Rakuten Aquafadas, a subsidiary of Rakuten Europe and appointed by the group as « Rakuten DX » in November 2020. Mr Alluis was promoted as Rakuten DX CEO in January 2018 with responsibility for strategy, team and business integration within the group, continuous revenue growth and company transformation to dedicate subsidiary’s expertise to Rakuten strategic projects.

Prior to joining Rakuten, Mr Alluis was a leader in the IBM Corporation for more than 19 years, 8 of which he had high-level responsibilities in the Europe Sales and Technical Leadership team. He served IBM sales development for Disk platforms, for Hybrid Cloud infrastructure & Systems software, for Small and Medium business Sales and he lead an Europe Innovation Center to partner with clients on Digital Transformation projects.

Also, Mr Alluis has experience in industry associations’ board governance (volunteer positions) :  as Vice Chairman for France Committee of SNIA Europe from 2010 to 2012 (Storage Network Industry Association). Since 2019, he is Administrator & Executive Committee Member of Digital 113, a business cluster of 300+ companies and entrepreneurs in the digital industry in the Occitanie region (South of France).

Olivier Alluis, 49 years old, is an Engineering graduate and has a degree in Applied Physics, Electronics & Materials Science from the Polytechnic National Institute of Grenoble (INP - Phelma engineering school). In addition to his Engineer degree, he also studied Industrial Engineering & Management at « INP Genie Industriel » School . He  also complemented his academic skills with the « Business and Industry Insight program » delivered at London Business School.

Narendra Narayana

Narendra Narayana

Managing Director & President - India

With over 20+ years of industry experience spanning across multiple technologies, Naren believes that technology for the well-being of society & people is the future. Naren comes with strong knowledge and experience in the areas of product management, engineering, and operations. His expertise include software development, mobile applications, cloud engineering & operations, FinTech & cyber and information security. A software engineer at core, Naren is very fond of mobile app and full stack development.

Naren joined Rakuten family in 2016 as part of Rakuten India at its budding stage as VP of Engineering and eventually took the additional role of COO as well. He helped build the organization from 125 people to 1750 before joining Rakuten Symphony in December last year.

Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson

President, Symworld™ Network (RAN)

Matthew brings to the role an impressive track record of designing and leading major digital and cloud transformation projects around the globe for government, defense, telecoms and MNCs. He is a disciplined technology industrialist with a demonstrated track-record of identifying, building and monetizing new technologies and platforms.

Most recently, Matthew acted as the Head of Infrastructure for the Technology & Digital Sector for Saudi Arabia’s giga-project NEOM. In this role, he was responsible for fielding NEOM’s emergent 5G, AI data centers, subsea internet, blockchain and satellite communications infrastructure, as well as business co-creation - bringing disruptive technology companies and talent to Saudi Arabia.  

Matthew has previously held executive leadership or advisory positions with Guardtime, Telstra, Ericsson, and in the Defense Sector. He has also worked extensively as an expert advisor to the Private Equity and Venture Capital industries, aligning transformative companies with intelligent capital, focusing on cyber security, AI, blockchain and next-generation communication portfolios. He served a distinguished 13-year military career in the United States Air Force globally serving as a Special Agent.  

Matthew graduated with honors from Norwich University with a M.S. in Information Assurance, sponsored by the NSA’s National Information Assurance Program and holds a B.S. in Behavioral Sciences from United States Air Force Academy.

John Carse

John Carse

Chief Information Security Officer, Rakuten Mobile
Chief Information Security Officer, Rakuten Symphony

John Carse is Chief Information Security Officer for Rakuten Symphony and Rakuten Mobile, where he also leads IT Engineering & Operations for the world’s first and largest truly open mobile network. In this role, John leads a modern approach to next-gen telecom network security for Rakuten Mobile and Rakuten Symphony customers, leveraging more than three decades of experience with a range of Fortune 500 companies. This work focuses on building and maintaining trust with subscribers, customers, and partners.

With specialization in cross-platform enterprise management systems on global networks, John most recently served as interim-CISO for Expedia Group and led the establishment of JP Morgan Chase’s Global Security Operation Center, maturing the program into a world-class operation capability.

During his career, John engineered and delivered a secure enterprise management system and ITIL service management system for the US Navy’s ONE-NET for 5th Fleet, 6th Fleet and 7th Fleet. As an original engineer of that program, he supported NAVNETWARCOM for eleven years. He lived for six years in Japan, from 2006 until 2012, focused on information assurance and cybersecurity operations in the region. During this time, he supported intelligence-gathering operations to keep personnel safe during the humanitarian effort, Operation Tomodachi, after the Tohoku Earthquake & Tsunami on March 11, 2011. From 2012 through 2014, John led ONE-NET service delivery overseeing IT engineering, operations, information assurance and field services in the 5th Fleet AOR.

Mr. Carse received his Computer & Information Science degree from UMUC and his EMBA from IE University.

Geoff Hollingworth

Geoff Hollingworth

Chief Marketing Officer

Geoff has been in the mobile communications industry for more than 30 years, beginning his career with Ericsson in 1991 and with 2G.  Throughout his journey in telecom and cloud, he’s been a software engineer and led research and development, business development, network rollouts, consulting, marketing campaigns and strategic communications for his teams.  

He has been embedded in AT&T, helping to catapult their Silicon Valley innovation initiatives and delivered the world’s first live global mobile sports channel with the Volvo Ocean Race Round the World Race.

Geoff also served as chief marketing officer for MobiledgeX, a startup founded by Deutsche Telekom, focusing on the mobile edge computing space.

At his core, Geoff is a software engineer with his First Class Honors bachelor’s degree in computing science. He received the computing science prize of excellence from Aston University in Birmingham, United Kingdom, with his first experience at the European Organization of Nuclear Research (CERN) writing accelerator beam control software.

Geoff is currently based in Dallas, Texas.

One example of Rakuten Symphony industry leadership is our Radio-as-a-Service offering, Symware, a new generation of Distributed Unit that is cheaper, faster and easier to deploy and manage.

Symware is designed with an outdoor form factor for single person carry, zero touch provisioning, and ‘plug & play’ cabinet-free installation. It is weather hardened; bookshelf modelled and has a fan-less design to lessen the chance of failure.

Commercially, it is available on an as-a-Service basis, with hardware upgrade included, or bundled with the Rakuten Symphony software solution for the radio stack and fully automated operations out of the box. Technology advances, operating models and commercials all combine to enable Symware to disrupt the radio status quo, something that would not have been possible previously.

Leadership for Rakuten Symphony is not about the race for the next G. It is about knowing how to successfully run a network business as a modern digital-first business, focusing on total system performance rather than individual pieces of equipment or technology domains. Doing networks right in this context means enabling dramatically different cost performance, operational performance and technology performance. 5G (or even 6G) becomes just one item in a roadmap alongside other technology innovations from within and outside the telecom industry.

Intelligent Operations

The Intelligent Operations delivered by Rakuten Symphony represent a true breakthrough in how cloud-native networks are planned, built and operated.

From a single, intelligent, cloud-native platform, Rakuten Symphony customers can analyse and manage every aspect of their network’s lifecycle.

By disaggregating and virtualizing network functions, we have eliminated layers of proprietary management systems that add complexity and cost for operators.

By creating a single, unified cloud infrastructure using COTS components, we have eliminated proprietary hardware, reducing network TCO still further.

By containerizing network software, we have created a scalable, elastic network that offers automated, telco-grade resilience.

AI and machine learning are applied to network-wide data, predicting and detecting anomalies more reliably, and resolving faults 70% faster than conventional methods.

Our unique observability framework provides operators with a clear, consistent view of the status of services and underlying cloud infrastructure.

Our zero-trust security model, combined with extensive automation, ensures the most up-to-date protection against cyber threats and human error.

Using industry-standard open interfaces from 3GPP, TMForum, Open RAN Alliance, ETSI and others, we have created a flexible, future-proof foundation that gives operators more, not less, choice.

With Symworld, we provide all of the applications needed to plan, build, deploy, operate, monitor, manage and secure a complex, multi-vendor network. A data driven platform with 50+ integrated applications that provide data into a common data lake and receive AI driven insight. Those applications sharing a common data platform, eliminates integration tax, manual processes, data duplication and fragmented software license management.

Subsets of applications can be chosen to solve specific tasks, an example being a major network operator selecting the Rakuten Symphony Observability Framework applications as their starting point.

When this platform is adopted, data driven automation is enabled for the end to end life cycle of planning, deploying, securing, monitoring and operation edge data centers, of which Rakuten can access 1,000+ today.

Data-driven, AI-enabled, Intelligent Operations is at the heart of the new generation of a low-cost, high quality telecom operator that Rakuten Symphony makes possible.

Commercial Innovation

Rakuten Symphony addresses the outdated commercial structures and processes that prevent the transition to a truly modern telco.

Progress requires change to commercial relationships as well, from procurement practice to transparency expectations to new business models and relationships.

The RFP model of procurement has for a long time not been fit for purpose. To reference 2019 industry research by TM Forum:

New industry research by TM Forum shows 30-year-old procurement practices increase costs, decrease innovation and slow down business agility.

Most of the 300 CSPs and vendor participants agree that current RFP processes are not fit for the coming decade of digital transformation.

Recommendations include leveraging proof-of-concepts, embracing agile methodology, and decentralization and digitization of the procurement process.

Starting in 2018, Rakuten Mobile realized the traditional RFP procurement practice was not fit for purpose and replaced it with a partnership, rapid trial to scale model. Using this model, Rakuten Mobile now works with over 50 different suppliers, which does not create an obstacle to scaling, since all are managed through software interfaces and platform management.

In a conventional telco RFP process, the issuer over-lists all possible wanted features in case they might be useful and the suppliers reply with over compliance to maximize the chance of winning. The process takes months to years and the end result is no clearer understanding of ability to meet real needed outcomes and goals. It is a false horizon of progress. It also forces component level comparisons rather than system level possibilities. Incumbent suppliers use the RFP process as weapon to discourage change and innovation. Technical architectures have led to organizational architectures that have led to similar siloed procurement practices.

Rather than engaging at the RFP level, Rakuten Symphony focuses on the business outcomes an operator needs. This fosters a much more productive, collaborative and faster process than with the conventional approach.

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Notice for more information.