Altiostar and Rakuten Mobile Demonstrate Success for Open RAN Network in Japan
Rakuten Mobile and Altiostar have announced a number of performance and scalability achievements for the Rakuten Mobile 4G and 5G Open RAN deployments in Japan. That network, built on Altiostar’s cloud-native Open vRAN software, was said to achieve superior levels of automation and performance.
Rakuten Mobile launched its 4G network in April 2020. The wireless network operator ended January 2021 with more than 11,000 base stations that cover 74.9 percent of the population. Rakuten Mobile plans to expand its network coverage to 96 percent of Japan’s population coverage by summer this year. That’s about five years ahead of its own schedule! The network has achieved both high performance (number one in upload speed in market at 16.8Mbps, per OpenSignal), despite having only 1/6th of the spectrum holdings of competing operators in market.
In September 2020, five months after the initial launch, Rakuten Mobile launched a commercial-scale, cloud-native 5G network, using Altiostar’s Open vRAN service. As baseband functions are deployed as VNFs (virtual network functions), Rakuten Mobile automated various operational tasks such as new cell site integration (auto-commissioning), as well as fault detection and automated recovery from failures (self-healing). Due to the automation of its network, Rakuten Mobile reports it can provide a new 5G cell site in four minutes and a 4G site in eight minutes.
The 5G network, using advanced massive MIMO and millimeter wave (mmWave) radios, covers both sub-6 GHz and mmWave frequency bands. Altiostar worked with Qualcomm Technologies, Airspan, and Rakuten Mobile on innovation in mmWave radios based on Qualcomm 5G RAN platforms. Altiostar partnered with NEC and Rakuten Mobile to introduce to the 5G network the sub-6 GHz massive MIMO radios, which were validated as compliant with O-RAN specifications during an O-RAN Alliance Plugfest held this past September in India.
The 5G network has demonstrated impressive performance for end users, with throughput of 1.77 Gbps. This compares favorably to data from a Ookla, which detailed speed test results for Japan in Q3 2020, where the fastest 10% of users realized an average download speed of 719.42 Mbps.
Image Credit: Altiostar
“Rakuten has been a disruptor in the mobile space and our 4G and 5G Open vRAN deployments reflect this strategy,” said Tareq Amin, Representative Director, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Rakuten Mobile. “The performance and stability of the 5G network shows that a cloud-native framework and web-scale architecture can compete with a traditional RAN approach and provide new levels of automation to the network. We will continue to drive the transformation of the mobile industry with a rich and diverse ecosystem with companies including Altiostar, Qualcomm Technologies and NEC.”
“Rakuten has been at the forefront of the Open vRAN movement since it began. The industry is closely watching its every step, and it has been able to demonstrate a high-quality experience for their customers,” said Stéphane Teral, Chief Analyst, LightCounting. “This is validated by the performance metrics of their 5G network and I am excited to see the next steps they take as the network goes national.”
“This is a significant milestone for the Rakuten Mobile and Altiostar partnership towards commercial realization of a high performing, cloud-native 5G RAN architecture,” said Ashraf Dahod, CEO of Altiostar. “The Altiostar container-based solution allows Rakuten Mobile to quickly provision new sites and turn up service for a customer in record time. By leveraging the power of an Open virtualized RAN, Rakuten can transform its network and its business to provide a robust service for the consumer that exceeds that of a traditional operator.”
Altiostar has partnered with Rakuten Mobile to design and deploy its Open vRAN. Rakuten Mobile has standardized on the Altiostar Open vRAN software for all types of deployment models from small cells to macro to massive MIMO, across 4G and 5G radio access technologies.
Altiostar provides 4G and 5G open virtualized RAN (Open vRAN) software that supports open interfaces and virtualizes the radio access baseband functions to build a disaggregated multi-vendor, web-scale, cloud-based mobile network. Operators can add intelligence, quickly adapt the network for different services and automate operations to rapidly scale the network and reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Altiostar collaborates with a growing ecosystem of partners to support a diverse Open RAN supply chain.
The company was selected by Dish last June to deliver its cloud-native O-RAN compliant solution for DISH’s nationwide 5G network buildout, the first of its kind in the U.S. The Altiostar solution will provide openness, modularity, agility and scalability to DISH, enabling faster deployment of new 5G services for consumers and businesses.
The Altiostar Open vRAN solution has been deployed globally, including the world’s first cloud-native commercial-scale mobile network with Rakuten Mobile in Japan. For more information, visit www.altiostar.com
About Rakuten Mobile
Rakuten Mobile, Inc. is a Rakuten Group company responsible for mobile communications, including mobile network operator (MNO) and mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) businesses, as well as ICT and energy. Through continuous innovation and the deployment of advanced technology, Rakuten Mobile aims to redefine expectations in the mobile communications industry in order to provide appealing and convenient services that respond to diverse customer needs.
Qualcomm 5G RAN Platform is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
Qualcomm is a trademark or registered trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated.
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Rakuten Mobile launched full-scale commercial service on its 4G Open RAN network in April 2020 and aims to achieve 96% population coverage by the end of 2021. Altiostar developed the cloud-native, Kubernetes-based Open vRAN software that Rakuten Mobile used to build the network. The network is an industry-first for using cloud native software that converts Open vRAN network elements, including distributed units (DUs) and centralized units (CUs), into containerized applications that are fast to deploy, can be individually upgraded and offer better network scalability.
“Winning these prestigious awards for such an innovative architecture is an important validation of Open RAN and a milestone for the industry,” said Ashraf Dahod, President and CEO of Altiostar. “I extend heartfelt congratulations to the entire Rakuten Mobile team. We are honored to partner with them, and this is great recognition for a team that had the vision for a new mobile network design in Japan and the boldness to pursue that vision.”
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