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Taking telecom into uncharted territory: Telefonica CEO on the transformative potential of Open RAN

October 27, 2022
minute read

“With the new deployment of 5G standalone and fiber, we are really opening the Pandora’s Box of a massive amount of data, a massive amount of capacity, a massive amount of speed and certainly almost zero latency,” commented José María Álvarez-Pallete, Chairman and CEO of Telefónica at Rakuten Optimism 2022 – Rakuten’s biggest annual business conference.

Mickey Mikitani and José María Álvarez-Pallete discuss innovation in the telecom industry at Rakuten Optimism 2022.
Mickey Mikitani and José María Álvarez-Pallete discuss innovation in the telecom industry at Rakuten Optimism 2022.

In a discussion with Rakuten Group Chairman and CEO Mickey Mikitani on “Digitalization, Sustainability and Privacy: Telecom is Ready for Change,” Álvarez-Pallete touched on how Open RAN is unlocking greater flexibility and capacity for operators, the transformation of traditional mobile networks into massive “decentralized and capillarized computers,” the importance of protecting people’s rights in the new digital era and more.

Telefónica is currently working with Rakuten Symphony to drive multi-vendor Open RAN innovation in the UK, and Álvarez-Pallete sees the shift to Open RAN as an important strategic move. This new architecture, explained Álvarez-Pallete, will enable Telefónica to have “a liquid network, which implies a high degree of flexibility increasing capacity in a very dynamic way.” The goal: to bring scale to the Open RAN ecosystem, which will significantly reduce costs for suppliers.

José María Álvarez-Pallete at Rakuten Optimism 2022.

While noting that widespread adoption of “web 3.0” technologies, such as blockchains, will test the business models of the major tech platforms, Álvarez-Pallete suggested the ongoing technological revolution will also take the telecom industry into unchartered territory. So what might that territory look like? And how are Telefónica and Rakuten Symphony working to create future-proof networks?

Read the full session recap on the Rakuten Today blog, here.

Or, register for Rakuten Optimism 2022, to watch the full conversation, here.

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Rakuten Optimism
Open RAN
Mickey Mikitani
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