It’s a network architecture that costs 40% less than traditional telecommunication infrastructure and the savings on opex are even better, according to CTO Tareq Amin. The operator is passing some of those savings on to customers in the form of a $28 monthly subscription for unlimited data, voice, and messaging services.
Rakuten Mobile’s successful launch also serves as a clarion call for the wireless industry, proving that there are indeed new and more efficient ways to assemble networks. Virtualization, open RAN, and cloud-native architectures have been demonstrably beneficial for many years, but this is the first time an entire network has been designed from the ground up riding exclusively on those technologies.
Industry observers and competitors that were skeptical of the company’s approach have been largely silenced. However, Rakuten Mobile isn’t completely free from legacy equipment vendors and traditional technology. It is still using technology and hardware from industry stalwarts. Equipment, software, and services from Airspan, Altiostar, Cisco, Intel, Mavenir, NEC, Nokia, Red Hat, and Qualcomm all play a role in Rakuten Mobile’s network.