Rakuten Mobile partners with Tokyo Institute of Technology to launch “Beyond 5G” Edge Cloud Computing R&D

- New research for NICT “Beyond 5G R&D Promotion Project”

Tokyo, April 19, 2021 - Rakuten Mobile, Inc. today announced that it is partnering with the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech)*1 to launch research and development into edge cloud computing with the aim of exploring Beyond 5G communication technology. This R&D will be  carried out as part of the “Beyond 5G R&D Promotion Project” for which the Japanese National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) recently publicly invited applications for proposals. It is based on the specified research theme of “foundation for next-generation edge cloud computing to support Beyond 5G ultra-high-capacity wireless communication.”

Beyond 5G (B5G) refers to the next generation of communications standards to follow 5G, expected to be introduced in the 2030s. B5G is expected to be even more sophisticated than 5G, enabling wireless communication of massive volumes of data (super eMBB), high reliability and low latency (super URLLC) and simultaneous connections with massive numbers of devices (super mMTC). For applications working on B5G networks to be able to leverage these capabilities, data processing must take place close to the end user or target at the edge of the network, a process known as edge computing. “Edge cloud computing”—combining the strengths of edge computing and cloud computing—is expected to become a major technological pillar of B5G wireless communication.

Rakuten Mobile, which built the world’s first fully virtualized cloud-native mobile network*2, is partnering on this initiative with Tokyo Tech to conduct trials using B5G edge cloud computing with the aim of creating completely new user experiences. Specific topics to be included in this R&D initiative are outlined below.

  • Topic of research and development:
    (R&D article 2-d-4) “R&D pertaining to building a Super Smart Town that utilizes B5G and Edge Cloud Computing”
  • Outline:
    In preparation for the B5G age, development and trials of applications utilizing B5G edge cloud computing technologies will be conducted. A 5G network compliant with O-RAN*3 and 3GPP*4 standards will be constructed at Tokyo Tech’s Ookayama Campus and in the surrounding area, and a platform will be developed to run application systems on edge cloud computing with B5G technology at its foundation. This platform will be used to optimize network functions while trialing the implementation of services that could be utilized in a potential Smart City. Edge cloud computing cooperation will also be implemented with the aim of creating a communications environment which can seamlessly handle large amounts of data for mobility-related services and for connecting users in remote locations.
  • Project period:
    March 2021 – End of March 2025 (planned)

Through this R&D project, Rakuten Mobile intends to develop network technology to support the B5G era, offer customers more convenience through even better network service, and contribute to the advancement of Japan’s communications technology.

*1 For more details about the Tokyo Tech partnership, please refer to the following press release.
*2 For a large scale commercial mobile network (as of October 1, 2019). Research: Stella Associa.
*3 O-RAN compliance refers to compliance with interoperable Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN) standards developed by the O-RAN ALLIANCE. The O-RAN ALLIANCE is a world-wide community of over 200 operators, vendors, research and academic institutions operating in the RAN industry. Rakuten Mobile has been a member since August 2020, and Rakuten Mobile CTO Tareq Amin was appointed to the Board of Directors in November 2020. For more details, please refer to the following press release.
*4 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project) is a telecommunications standard development project comprised of carriers and vendors from around the world.

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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