Rakuten – which, among other things, also owns the popular messaging service Viber – is preparing a new unit in the United Kingdom, which will be operational within the next year and will be dedicated to the promotion and demonstration of the Open RAN architecture.
The project is designed to promote the adoption of Open RAN technologies in the EMEA region and is funded by the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
The ‘Open RAN Customer Experience Centre’ will be deployed at Rakuten Symphony’s UK offices by March 2023 and will offer telcos and industry suppliers “hands-on experience and testing of the latest technological advances in the sector”.
Rakuten Symphony plans to invite partners to the facility, set up exhibition facilities and hold workshops. The project was funded by the Japanese government “because of its potential to contribute to this global strategic partnership between the UK and Japan”.
“We are honored to have the opportunity to create our first Open RAN Customer Experience Center in the UK, where we can provide an environment for testing Open RAN solutions, as well as creating a hub for leadership around Open RAN in Europe and the Middle East,” said Nobuyuki Uchida, executive director of Rakuten Mobile.
Nastasi Karaiskos, Managing Director, Rakuten Symphony UK, added: “We are grateful for the Japanese government’s support and look forward to establishing a foundation for Open RAN testing, training and thought leadership, here in the UK.”
The new facility follows the launch of the Rakuten Mobile Open Innovation Lab in Tokyo in August this year, which was described as an environment “using the technologies and experience gained by Rakuten Mobile through its commercial Open RAN mobile network”.
Meanwhile, last week, Rakuten obtained permission to conduct tests in Japan using the BlueWalker 3 low-orbit satellite. The ultimate goal of this project is to provide telecommunications using AST’s SpaceMobile network, targeting smartphones located in mountainous areas and remote islands, which are usually out of range.
AST SpaceMobile launched the BlueWalker 3 test satellite from the US in September.
Source: Digital Life! by www.digitallife.gr.
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