TOKYO – A new generation of mobile infrastructure is poised to take off in the Middle East. Etisalat, one of the world's largest telco service providers operating in 16 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, is working with Rakuten Mobile to jointly develop a reference blueprint for mobile broadband networks based on the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP).
In an agreement recently signed with Rakuten Mobile, Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat will explore and co-develop a mobile network reference design based on open standards. Through Rakuten Mobile's RCP, Etisalat's customer base of more than 154 million subscribers are positioned to realize the potential of a cloud-native, software-centric and fully virtualized and containerized platform.
"This is a unique opportunity for Etisalat and Rakuten Mobile to co-explore and further develop next generation mobile networks based on RCP that will allow Etisalat to leverage a cost-effective, cloud-native, OpenRAN based mobile network architecture that is secure, scalable and reliable," explained Hatem Bamatraf, Chief Technology Officer, Etisalat International.
A roadmap to the edge
Rakuten Mobile developed RCP to empower mobile operators to build on what Rakuten Mobile has done in Japan. Following a successful launch of the world's first cloud-native 4G and 5G mobile services in 2020, Rakuten Mobile is making RCP available to telco operators like Etisalat, who want to offer secure and open mobile networks at speed and low cost. RCP offers access to the best of Rakuten Mobile's network design, including the latest technology in virtualization and automation, including containers and microservices.
The collaboration includes potential for the creation of an open and interoperable mobile telco infrastructure blueprint for Etisalat and its affiliate networks across the region, based on RCP. It also opens up new opportunities to generate fresh revenue streams and offer customers innovative and immersive experiences based on multi-access edge computing deployments. "Etisalat Group and our affiliate networks across the Middle East and Africa bring rich services and experiences to our customers across the region," added Bamatraf.
"We're excited to work with Etisalat to build a new generation of telecom infrastructure based on the Rakuten Communications Platform which will bring cost effective mobile services to their customers across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia," said Tareq Amin, Representative Director, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Rakuten Mobile.
A new mobile design for the Middle East and beyond
This announcement for advancing Open RAN technology follows similar recent agreements with Madrid-based Telefónica and Riyadh-based stc, both signed in late 2020. Through its collaboration with Rakuten Mobile, Etisalat will continue its drive to deliver groundbreaking network performance with a rich user experience, while also becoming a mobile operator to watch in the era of Open RAN.