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 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*2, 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*3, 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.
*1. From left to right: Tareq Amin (Representative Director, Executive Vice President and CTO, Rakuten Mobile), Yasufumi Hirai (Director and Vice Chairman, Rakuten Mobile), Yoshihisa Yamada (Representative Director and President, Rakuten Mobile), Takayuki Morita (Senior Executive Vice President and CFO, NEC Corporation), Atsuo Kawamura (Executive Vice President and President of the Network Services Business Unit, NEC Corporation).
*2. 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.
*3. For a large scale commercial mobile network (as of October 1, 2019), Research: Stella Associa.
About Rakuten Mobile
Rakuten Mobile, Inc. (rakuten.com) 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.
About NEC Corporation
NEC Corporation (nec.com) is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. The NEC Group globally provides "Solutions for Society" that promote the safety, security, efficiency and equality of society. Under the company's corporate message of "Orchestrating a brighter world," NEC aims to help solve a wide range of challenging issues and to create new social value for the changing world of tomorrow.
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