Rakuten Mobile Launches R&D Selected by NEDO as part of its Research and Development Project of the Enhanced Infrastructures for Post-5G Information and Communication Systems

- R&D to enhance efficiency of systems for Open RAN software standards and quality assurance for global market deployments.

Tokyo, July 3, 2023 - Rakuten Mobile, Inc. today announced launch of a research and development project into development of advanced Open RAN integration infrastructure on July 3, 2023, in line with its selection for the research theme of “(c8) Development of Advanced O-RAN Integration Infrastructure Technology” *¹ by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) as part of its “Research and Development Project of Enhanced Infrastructures for Post-5G Information and Communication Systems (JPNP20017).”

As part of this research and development project, Rakuten Mobile will collaborate with Rakuten Symphony to develop standardized Open RAN software, proof-of-concept (PoC) environment models and automated quality assurance systems for telecom operators.

Sharad Sriwastawa, Chief Technology Officer at Rakuten Mobile, commented, “The successful rollout and operations of Rakuten Mobile’s world-first end-to-end virtualized network is already a clear demonstration to the world of the potential benefits of Open RAN technology, in terms of significant savings in capital expenditure, operating costs and the agility of our network in delivering on our customer needs and expectations for the future. This research and development project selected by NEDO ideally positions us to share these learnings and benefits with other telecom operators and their subscribers.”

Open RAN technology promises to reduce costs and enable construction of flexible networks with multi-vendor configurations. At the same time, the complexity of integration is also seen as a challenge due to the diverse requirements of telecom operators, countries and regions. Through this research, Rakuten Mobile aims to develop standardized Open RAN software and efficient quality assurance systems that will accommodate multiple different spectrum and other requirements of each individual telecom operator. By promoting efficiency and standardization, this enhanced Open RAN integration*² will help businesses avoid dependence on specific vendors and contribute to a more robust supply chain.

Overview of Research and Development Project of the Enhanced Infrastructures for Post-5G Information and Communication Systems (JPNP20017)

  • R&D category: Development of post-5G information and communication systems (Subsidy)
  • R&D theme: (c8) Development of O-RAN Integration Infrastructure Technology
  • R&D period: July 2023 to June 2026 (planned)
  • R&D content: Advanced Open RAN integration infrastructure research and development

1) Development of standardized Open RAN software for global telecom
Develop standardized software (O-DU/O-CU/cloud platform) that meets the requirements of different telco carriers, countries and regions, while being independent of specific operator environments. The goal is to enhance efficiency of the integration process and reduce obstacles to implementation of Open RAN for telecom carriers.

2) Development of PoC environment model
In order to reduce the time required for creation of the environment for Open RAN integration PoCs, establish a common cloud-enabled Open RAN PoC*³ environment model for telco carriers by leveraging the knowledge gained through Rakuten Mobile's commercial Open RAN network operations.

3) Development of automated Open RAN quality assurance system for global telecom
Develop a quality assurance system aimed at achieving automation of quality verification for key specified O-RAN Alliance standard categories for Open RAN software and telecommunications hardware.

4) Implementation of Field PoC for global telecom
Develop a mechanism to reflect the results of Field PoCs*⁴ with global telco carriers into the Open RAN automated quality assurance system, in order to establish a continuously evolving quality assurance environment.

*1 Information on the "Research and Development Project of the Enhanced Infrastructures for Post-5G Information and Communication Systems / Development of post-5G information and communication systems (Subsidy)" :https://www.nedo.go.jp/koubo/IT3_100272.html (Japanese website)
*2 A communication system built by combining and integrating software and networks. This will enable Open RAN in a multi-vendor configuration.
*3 Proof of Concept (PoC): To verify the feasibility of new ideas and concepts and the results that can be obtained from them.
*4 Field PoC: Testing of functions and quality in a telco carrier’s network.

*Product names and service names included in this press release are generally trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Trademarks such as “™” and “®” may be omitted when company trademarks are mentioned.

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

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