Rakuten, NEC begin Production of Open RAN 5G Radio Equipment

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Rakuten¬†Mobile, Inc. and NEC Corporation have¬†announced that production of the 5th generation mobile communications system (5G) radio unit (RU) jointly developed by the two companies has started at NEC Platforms, Ltd.’s Fukushima Plant, and the first unit has been shipped.

“NEC’s 5G RU, developed and produced in Japan, will play a very
important role in Rakuten Mobile’s fully virtualized cloud native
mobile network,” said Tareq Amin, Rakuten Mobile Representative
Director, Executive Vice President and CTO.

“With the launch of production of the 5G radio unit, we will begin work on the construction of our 5G base stations and will aim to provide our subscribers with a cost efficient, highly secure, high quality 5G service.”

“NEC is very proud to be part of Rakuten Mobile’s advanced 5G network,” said Atsuo Kawamura, Executive Vice President and President of the Network Services Business Unit, NEC Corporation. “The 5G RU, produced at our Fukushima Plant, conforms with open architecture standards, and comes in a compact form factor with low power consumption. By expanding the open 5G ecosystem, NEC will contribute to the creation of new mobile services around the world.”

The new domestically produced, high quality 5G RU is equipped with a 3.7 GHz frequency band massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) antenna in a compact, lightweight form factor with low power consumption. With the 5G RU, Rakuten Mobile will begin the buildout of its 5G network, starting with the construction of base stations in the Tokyo area (*1), and work toward the launch of 5G commercial services in June 2020.

Rakuten Mobile is building the world’s first end-to-end fully
virtualized cloud native network(*2), and in October 2019 in Japan
successfully implemented the world’s first open, virtualized,
distributed radio access network (OpenRAN). In addition, Rakuten
Mobile and NEC are also closely collaborating on BSS (Business
Support System) and OSS (Operation Support System) solutions for
Rakuten Mobile’s 4G network operations.

As 5G networks are an important part of social infrastructure,
Rakuten Mobile aims to not only improve the convenience of existing
services, but also to utilize the technology to create new business
opportunities to solve social issues and contribute to regional
development.

NEC, with its focus on providing “Solutions for Society,” will
leverage its technological strengths and experience in network
construction to support operators in building out their 5G networks
and accelerate the expansion of its operations overseas.