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Rakuten: a greenfield mobile operator

Rakuten: a greenfield mobile operator – Can virtualisation really help a greenfield player?

Rakuten is going to launch a fully virtualised 4G network in October this year and a 5G network in 2020.

The network is expected to be more flexible, easier to maintain and upgrade.

Building a totally new type of mobile network is very challenging but could enable lower cost and capital spending. Rakuten’s mobile network will require half the investment of traditional telcos just to build the 4G part of the network. About 70 to 80% reduction in investment could be achieved when taking into account 5G investment.

How far the new concept will enable this new entrant in the Japanese mobile arena to disrupt the market?


1. Executive Summary
2. Rakuten’s approach: A virtualised mobile network
2.1. Rakuten, Inc. Was first the largest e-commerce site in Japan
2.2. What’s new in the Rakuten approach?
2.3. The Rakuten Mobile Network is world’s first cloud-native platform
2.4. Virtualisation of the RAN (Radio Access Network)
2.5. Cloud-native core: a multivendor affair between Cisco and Nokia
3. Strategy and expected impact
3.1. Roadmap for MNO service launch
3.2. Deal with KDDI
3.3. Expected impact on the Japanese market
4. Challenges and conclusion
4.1. The most challenging factors in the Rakuten approach
4.2. SWOT analysis
4.3. Conclusion
5. Annexes
5.1. Role of the infrastructure providers
5.2. Altiostar Networks
5.3. Enabling Rakuten Cloud Platform with Cisco NFVI and Orchestration Solutions
List of tables and figures
Rakuten network architecture
RAN architecture
Simplified deployment
Rakuten’s roadmap
Rakuten deal with KDDI
MVNO market shares, 1H FY2019
MNO market shares, December 2018
Rakuten’s leading partners
vRAN software
Transport configurations
Rakuten’s mobile network architecture

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