Open RAN is one of the biggest innovations the telecom industry has witnessed – a paradigm shift in how 4G and 5G networks are built that is leading to service agility and to lower cost and rapid service rollout.
Technology changes that are as significant as Open RAN require customer education and demonstrations to show that the network will work and that customers should leave their safe, but inefficient, legacy technology to get the benefits.
The success of the Rakuten Mobile 4G/5G networks in Japan, which were built using Open RAN technology, went a long way toward proving that the technology can work. But each network and operator environment are different. And operators want to know that the technology works on their networks. Also, the advantage of Open RAN is the ecosystem of software, hardware and system integration partners that allow the operator a chance to develop the highest performing system for their network.
We want to give the industry a place to explore Open RAN, and that’s why Rakuten Mobile and Rakuten Symphony just announced they are opening the Open RAN Customer Experience Center based in the UK to serve all of Europe.
In our news release on the new center, we discuss the center’s three official goals:
The center fills a need for education where customers can come and hear from experts, see a variety of systems and test out the technology, mixing and matching radio units, centralized units and distributed units in different configurations to optimize the system they need to serve their network needs.
Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) and the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport made a joint announcement in March 2022 regarding their commitment to supplier diversity in the telecommunications sector. The center was selected for funding by MIC because of its potential to contribute to the global strategic partnership between the UK and Japan.
The UK is one of the biggest and brightest technology hubs and there is a lot of experienced Open RAN talent from which we can serve operators throughout Europe. I am excited for the opportunity to oversee this lab because I believe it will help the technology mature, the ecosystem to grow and it will lead the industry to embrace Open RAN for their networks. I look forward to welcoming the industry to our new lab in first half of 2023.