Tokyo, August 2, 2023 - Rakuten Symphony, a subsidiary of the leading technology conglomerate, Rakuten Group, today announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with VEON Ltd. (NASDAQ: VEON, Euronext Amsterdam: VEON), a global digital operator that provides converged connectivity and online services. The two companies will start exploring cooperation in Ukraine, with the goal of accelerating the reconstruction of the country’s infrastructure, through collaboration on open radio access networks (Open RAN) and digital services.
Under the terms of the MoU, the two companies commit to creating “a robust and future-proof telecommunications infrastructure” that can seamlessly deliver high-speed connectivity enhanced with 5G, enabling the next generation of digital services in Ukraine. With this collaboration, VEON and Rakuten demonstrate their support for the ‘We Build Ukraine’ initiative of the Ukrainian State Agency for Reconstruction and Development of Infrastructure. The two companies will also explore partnerships in other VEON markets.
VEON, operating in six markets with a total population of 510 million, is the parent company of Ukraine’s leading operator Kyivstar and has recently committed to investing USD 600 million to rebuild Ukraine’s infrastructure. Announcing its investment commitment, the company referred to the future 5G roll-out in Ukraine, for which Open RAN technologies are a compelling choice. Rakuten Symphony is a leading provider of Open RAN solutions, and has vast experience derived from successfully building the world’s first*1 end-to-end fully virtualized, cloud-native mobile network with its parent company Rakuten Mobile.
The two companies also share a focus on digital ecosystems: VEON’s Kyivstar owns and operates Ukraine’s leading digital services in health, entertainment, information and education, while Rakuten has deep international experience in messaging and financial services. Rakuten’s instant messaging app Rakuten Viber is a leading digital communication app in Ukraine, with near-ubiquitous mobile penetration rates in the country as well as very high adoption and engagement rates among Ukrainian nationals abroad. It also provides services to Ukrainian businesses including via an existing partnership with Kyivstar.
“Rakuten is honored to support the ‘We Build Ukraine’ initiative through potential collaboration with VEON to boost Ukraine’s critical national telecommunications infrastructure,” commented Mickey Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten Group, and Chairman of Rakuten Symphony. “We look forward to bringing our technological expertise from Open RAN telecom solutions and a broad range of digital services including Rakuten Viber to support Ukraine in transforming its digital landscape, as well as exploring further joint opportunities in other VEON markets.”
“VEON and Rakuten share a similar vision: we are both highly customer-focused, digital experience-oriented companies which redefine communications in our respective markets,” states Kaan Terzioğlu, Group CEO, VEON. “We are very excited to partner with Rakuten to explore the opportunities in VEON’s markets, with a combined population of 510 million. I am also delighted that we will start this work in Ukraine, where the country’s reconstruction is also a shared priority, as recently demonstrated by our USD 600 million investment commitment."
VEON is a global digital operator that currently provides converged connectivity and online services to nearly 160 million customers in six dynamic markets. We are transforming people’s lives, empowering individuals, creating opportunities for greater digital inclusion and driving economic growth across countries that are home to more than 7% of the world’s population. Headquartered in Amsterdam, VEON is listed on NASDAQ and Euronext Amsterdam. For more information, visit: https://www.veon.com
Rakuten Group, Inc. is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses and society. Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to approximately 1.7 billion members around the world. The Rakuten Group has nearly 32,000 employees, and operations in 30 countries and regions. For more information visit: https://global.rakuten.com/corp/
About Rakuten Symphony
Rakuten Symphony is reimagining telecom, changing supply chain norms and disrupting outmoded thinking that threatens the industry’s pursuit of rapid innovation and growth. Based on proven modern infrastructure practices, its open interface platforms make it possible to launch and operate advanced mobile services in a fraction of the time and cost of conventional approaches, with no compromise to network quality or security. Rakuten Symphony has operations in Japan, the United States, Singapore, India, Europe and the Middle East Africa region. For more information, visit: https://symphony.rakuten.com
This release contains “forward-looking statements,” as the phrase is defined in Section 27A of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements are not historical facts, and include statements relating to, among other things, VEON’s strategy and commercial plans. Forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which VEON cannot predict with accuracy and some of which VEON might not even anticipate. The forward looking statements contained in this release speak only as of the date of this release. VEON does not undertake to publicly update, except as required by U.S. federal securities laws, any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after such dates or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
*1 For a large scale commercial mobile network (as of October 1, 2019). Research: Stella Associa
Group Director of Strategic Communication