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Introducing “Mobile as a Software” - Rakuten unveils plans for MWC Barcelona 2023

January 31, 2023
minute read

“We need to take cost out of delivering telecom networks.”

Those words, written by Rakuten Symphony CMO Geoff Hollingworth, lay down the company’s mandate for MWC Barcelona and beyond.

So how can Hollingworth and the Rakuten team make it happen? The key, he explains, is adopting a “Mobile as a Software” mindset and using technology that fully embraces the disaggregation of hardware-software network systems across all layers of the network to maximize efficiency.

At MWC Barcelona 2023, Rakuten will reveal how Mobile as a Software can result in not just considerable cost reduction, but also added network agility and accelerated network build-outs and upgrades. The company will also spotlight the experience of Rakuten Mobile in Japan, which built the world’s largest cloud-native mobile network in record time.

The hub of Rakuten's activities for the week will be the Rakuten booth, located in Hall 2 - D46 of Barcelona’s Gran Via Conference Centre. The event will also see Rakuten leaders take to the stages all around the venue to share their vision for the future of telecom.

Here’s a closer look at the various ways you can engage with Rakuten and its partners at the show (complete details on our website):

A digital mock-up of the Rakuten Symphony booth.

Rakuten Experience Zones

Location: Booth #2D46

One of Rakuten’s advantages is that the company has built Mobile as a Software networks from scratch and has the experience (and scars) to prove it. During MWC Barcelona, the company will share its expertise in a variety of experience zones:

  • The Open RAN Zone explores challenges with Open RAN deployment at scale using cloud native development and deployment.
  • The Operations Zone looks at how we digitize network processes into Symworld to use automation to simplify and cost reduce network management and lifecycle tasks.
  • The Platform Infrastructure Zone is based on the ecosystem of telecom innovators who helped build a network in Japan of more than 300,000 base stations. Intel, Baytec, Sercomm, BMI, Supermicro, Qucell, and Airspan will be displaying their products at the Rakuten Symphony booth, with technologies spanning all parts of the mobile architecture.
  • The Cloud Zone examines how we use cloud in the network deployment from radio through the core network.
  • The Security and Sustainability Zone explores the security, energy management and broader sustainability efforts in Open RAN and cloud-based networks.
  • The Rakuten Ecosystem Zone will explore how the Rakuten Group has built an ecosystem of services with membership at the core. Rakuten Group’s 70+ businesses span a broad range of online and offline services, including e-commerce, travel, digital content, fintech, communications and professional sports. At the booth you’ll have opportunities to meet other Rakuten companies to understand how Rakuten Mobile manages customers, from onboarding to ongoing care, reducing costs and increasing speed.

Booth Theater

Location: Booth #2D46

At the Rakuten booth, company leaders as well as participants from the wider Rakuten ecosystem will be presenting each day on how the Mobile as a Software mindset permeates into everything Rakuten Symphony does.

Flashback: Rakuten Group Chairman and CEO Mickey Mikitani (left) and Rakuten Mobile & Rakuten Symphony CEO Tareq Amin at the Rakuten Partner Programme during MWC Barcelona 2022.

Partner Programme: Introducing Mobile as a Software

Location: Hall 7, Theater 6

On Tuesday, February 28 from 9 am – 12 pm, Rakuten Symphony will be presenting with key partners and customers as part of a series of panel sessions for the Partner Programme event, to discuss how Mobile as a Software is changing telecom.

Registrations of interest are available here:

Rakuten Symphony Executives Take the MWC stage

Location: Various stages throughout the venue

Rakuten Symphony executives will discuss important mobile industry issues ranging from Open RAN, 5G security, supply chain resiliency and partnership ecosystems. Here’s where they will be speaking (in chronological order):

Mon, 27 Feb 2023 16:15-17:00 CET

Open RAN:The Debate

Raghunath Hariharan

CTO, Rakuten Symphony

Location: MWC Stage A, Hall 6


Tue, 28 Feb: 16:15 - 17:00 CET

Should MNOs have a Chief Metaverse Officer?

Geoff Hollingworth

CMO, Rakuten Symphony

Location: MWC Stage B, Hall 6


Wed, 01 Mar 2023 - 13:20-14:20 CET

Strengthening 5G Security in 2023

John Carse

CISO, Rakuten Mobile & Rakuten Symphony

Location: Theater 2, Hall 6


Wed, 01 Mar 2023 - 14:50-15:50 CET

Driving Supply Chain Resiliency & Interoperable Networks

Partha Seetala

President of the Cloud Business Unit, RakutenSymphony

Location: Theater 2, Hall 6


Thu, 02 Mar 2023 - 10:00-10:45 CET

The Value of the Partner Ecosystem

Azita Arvani

North America CEO, Rakuten Symphony

Location: MWC Stage A, Hall 6


Please visit the Rakuten Symphony MWC Barcelona landing page for more information on Rakuten's participation and for details on how to set up a meeting or demo with us while at the show.

We’ll see you in Barcelona!

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