Rakuten Mobile and NEC Begin Production of Open RAN 5G Radio Equipment
Rakuten Mobile, Inc. and NEC Corporation today 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 Director, 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 and OSS solutions for Rakuten Mobile’s 4G network operations.
*1 Rakuten Mobile received licenses for 5G radio stations (base stations) from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications for Setagaya City and Koto City on March 6, 2020.
*2 For a large scale commercial mobile network (as of October 1, 2019), Research: Stella Associa