Swedish networks monitoring specialist Netrounds has landed a high-profile deal with Rakuten Mobile, the greenfield Japanese operator that is attracting a lot of attention for its cloud-oriented, disaggregated network architecture.
Netrounds is supplying its cloud-native, active network testing and monitoring software to the Japanese operator, which is due to start offering services on its new network in the coming months. The Swedish vendor, which has developed "test agent" tools suited for virtualized, cloud-native networking environments, claims its monitoring tools can be used across all network domains, "isolate problems on the data plane path across the mobile backhaul," and "enable perfect handover experience by measuring inter-data-center performance."
"We are pleased to leverage Netrounds' technology to help us automate the service assurance process which guarantees our customers' quality of experience," said Rakuten Mobile CTO Tareq Amin in a prepared statement.
Netrounds joins an illustrious list of vendors selected by Rakuten Mobile, namely Altiostar, Allot, Ciena, Cisco, F5 Networks, Innoeye, Intel, Mavenir, Netcracker, Nokia, OKI, Qualcomm, Quanta, Red Hat, Tech Mahindra and Viavi.
Rakuten has been a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in Japan since 2014, attracting more than 2.2 million customers: Now it has built its own network to launch 4G and ultimately 5G services, a move seen as complementary to the many other digital services offered by the broader Rakuten group. The launch had been set for October this year but was delayed amid reports of network operations issues, though Amin has played down such suggestions by saying at the recent TIP Summit in Amsterdam that the delay is down to a delay in the availability of dark fiber.
Why this matters
All eyes are on Rakuten Mobile as it gears up to launch what is arguably the most cloud-oriented mass-market mobile network in the world, a feat made possible because it is a greenfield network with no legacy elements or infrastructure to deal with.
As a result, any vendor selected by the Japanese alternative operator is put immediately in the spotlight and gains instant cloud-native network credibility, an important attribute to have as the world's mobile operators execute 5G strategies that will be more geared towards software-driven, cloud-oriented functions for flexibility and scale.
For Netrounds, this announcement will be a big deal from a competitive, marketing and visibility perspective, and likely enhance its business opportunities.
Earlier this year, Netrounds closed an unspecified Series A round of funding from Swisscom ventures and Fairpoint Capital.
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- Rakuten Mobile Preps for Shift From MVNO to 5G Network Operator
- Rakuten Mobile CTO: We're Stronger, Faster & Cheaper Than You
- Altiostar Raises $114M Funding Round; Rakuten Joins as Investor
- Rakuten Sets Cloud-Native 5G Template, Disrupts Japan's Status Quo
— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading