Nokia has landed a prime deal with Rakuten Mobile that will see the Finnish vendor operate the virtualized core platform of Japan's newest mobile operator as part of a managed services contract.
The deal is designed to allow Rakuten Mobile to focus on developing its service portfolio and expand its footprint, "while developing operational maturity and automation capabilities." Nokia said it will support more than 160 virtual network function instances across two data centers in a multivendor cloud environment.
Nokia was already on an illustrious list of vendors selected by Rakuten Mobile that also includes Altiostar, Allot, Ciena, Cisco, F5 Networks, Innoeye, Intel, Mavenir, Netcracker, Netrounds, OKI, Qualcomm, Quanta, Red Hat, Tech Mahindra and Viavi. However, this latest deal is a further feather in its cap, indicating it is a trusted partner that, all concerned hope, can run a virtualized core platform.
Nokia highlighted the "groundbreaking" levels of automation in network and service lifecycle management within the Rakuten Mobile cloud environment, noting that this would allow the operator "to bring new services to market in the fastest possible way while assuring service reliability through a highly reliable telco cloud."
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. However, the planned launch has already been delayed, and latest estimates are that it will now take place in April 2020. That in turn has given rivals KDDI, NTT DoCoMo and SoftBank some breathing space to get their 5G networks up and running.
For more on this topic, see:
- Big overseas bets skewer Japanese telcos
- Rakuten Delays Launch of Cloud-Native Network
- Japan's Rakuten Mobile to avoid grand entrance in October
- Rakuten Mobile Preps for Shift From MVNO to 5G Network Operator
- Rakuten Mobile CTO: We're Stronger, Faster & Cheaper Than You
— Anne Morris, Contributing Editor, Light Reading