Spotlight on Tech

Meet Symworld: software-driven, automated, cloud-based operations at scale

August 17, 2022
minute read

Software-driven, cloud-based operations are the journey all of us in telecom must embrace as we move toward the next phase of mobile communications. Of course, the challenges, technically, commercially and operationally that come along with this journey, are real. We faced them all with Rakuten Mobile in Japan. We weren’t special, but we worked hard to deliver the necessary results. And these results have proven to be transformational.

The 40% capex savings and 30% opex savings that come with our unique approach have been independently verified by New Street Research and further details are available on demand. In addition, we have seen that the below outcomes are achievable.

Further, our customer network performance is either at parity with the best of the industry or exceeds it. This has been verified in a report by independent analyst firm umlaut.

How we achieved this is what we want to share with you as transparently as possible, so you can build on what we have already learned. The money saved from reduced capex and more efficient operation can be applied to changing the customer experience and market value propositions offered. In Rakuten Mobile, we are starting to understand the network effects of having consolidated real-time data understanding of both network usage and customer behaviors that has led to an average of 67% growth in GMS from Rakuten Mobile members.

We believe the increasing value of first party data combined with strong data privacy regulation and natural operator trust offers many growth opportunities to the telecom community moving forward. In many ways, telecom is the backbone of life around the globe, both from a social and business perspective, and we believe it’s about time to create the platforms of the future and make the Internet work for all vested interests - people, businesses and governments.

We are increasingly ready to share what we have learned. We do not believe this is by throwing a box over the wall and claiming “yet another product” will solve anybody’s problem. We want to share how we have managed to achieve what we have achieved to date. We have products that can accelerate the change process. More importantly, we have the knowledge of what is required to place these technologies into operation, at scale, and in challenging scenarios. We believe change can best be unlocked if we partner with ambitious and open-minded organizations, both technically, operationally and commercially.


The largest investment we have made is in the software required to run a total telecoms business. We have moved all processes from being managed in spreadsheets or one-off software products, into one harmonized end-to-end telecom operating system we call Symworld.

Each product above represents a necessary job to be done in the total operational model of a modern telecom operator. Workflow elements across the lifecycle flows of network plan, build, operate, customer care and experience and total business management and support, can be sourced from Rakuten’s own application and/or third party applications. All telecom business applications are made available and managed by the Symworld marketplace.   

Customer adoption can start where the biggest needs exist. Most customers take one application, for example Site Manager in North America or Fault and Performance Monitor in Europe. We normalize the relevant datasets into one central understanding. As more workflows are adopted, more datasets are added, the value of the collected data increases and the model starts to improve in terms of performance and output. This is the power of the underlying Symworld platform, which enables common operational level processes, data management, AI and automation (to autonomy) services that can be applied to the total business.  

With Symworld Networks and Symworld Cloud there is optionality for supplier choice.  

Symworld Cloud

Symworld Cloud runs on top of and abstracts any cloud, both public and private, into one operational and lifecycle management model. Applications can seamlessly be moved from one cloud to another using three simple commands.

Having successfully run the world’s largest real-time edge-distributed cloud-native network in full operation and at full scale, we can confidently back up the claim on our website.

Symworld Network

In Symworld Networks and Rakuten Mobile we have diversified our radio supply chain while maintaining one operating principle and common management control plane across all suppliers. 

As with Symworld Cloud, the supply chain for Symworld Network is designed to be modified for regional variation.  

To immediately learn more and start engaging, visit here.

To Close and To Start…

In 2018 we had the opportunity to create a completely new mobile network and change the competitive landscape for mobile operators in Japan.  We chose to build the new network in a radical new way. This was a choice and at the same time it was not. We could not afford the traditional way, in terms of time to market and also pure cost. And if we were successful the traditional way, we would immediately be doing things the old way and need modernizing. We have seen and spoken about the results. Both in proven performance towards customers and total cost of ownership on the network side. The results are clear for all to see and we invite all who are interested to visit us in Japan to experience the result for yourselves.  

We are just starting our journey. The journey will never end, and we want to walk the road with others that can challenge us and also those we can help. We believe the future of everything lies in our ability to collaborate, to connect and to continuously improve. We believe the future of the planet lies in our hands and we must do better than we are today. This is why we believe connectivity is a basic human right and we owe it to others to close the digital divide, to connect the unconnected and to deliver what is deserved to the underserved. In 2018 we began our journey with the below image and message. It is still our guiding star.

#ItsAboutTime they did.

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