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Rakuten rearranges Symphony for investments

Japan's Rakuten Group announced it will make its Symphony effort "a business organization of the company," a move the company said will allow it to "start considering a capital and business alliance."

The development – a mostly paperwork reclassification of a previously announced strategy – appears to pave the way for Rakuten to open Symphony up to investors and partners.

"In order to further accelerate the global expansion of innovative mobile network solutions, Rakuten Symphony Inc., a newly established corporation, will consider accepting capital, etc. in addition to business partnerships with strategic partners," the company wrote in a release. "Details will be disclosed promptly in the event any matters need to be disclosed in the future," Rakuten teased.

It's no surprise that Rakuten is pulling out all the stops to make Symphony a success. The operation's Symphony contract with flagship customer 1&1 in Germany is worth between $2.3 billion and $2.7 billion over a ten-year period, reports Nikkei Asia. By contrast, Rakuten made about $1.8 billion in revenues at its Japanese mobile business in the last year.

"This business has been steadily accumulating its achievements," Rakuten wrote this week, pointing specifically to its 1&1 deal.

Light Reading reported in March 2020 of Rakuten's plans to sell a networking platform internationally. The offering was initially dubbed Rakuten Mobile Platform (RMP), and then Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP), but the company in August named it Symphony and said the operation targeted an addressable market of up to $100 billion.

Symphony is essentially the portfolio of technologies Rakuten uses in its Japanese mobile network – alongside other offerings from its partners – that it is now pitching to other service providers and networking hopefuls worldwide. According to Rakuten, companies can purchase all or parts of Symphony in order to quickly and easily roll out their own open RAN 5G networks.

Thus, Symphony is now on a collision course with a wide range of other players selling similar offerings. Ericsson, Amazon, Google and Mavenir are among the many providers hoping to assemble a product portfolio stretching across core networking, radio hardware and associated software and services, and then to rope in deals with customers ranging from enterprises to government agencies.

"We will be ready to provide 4G and 5G infrastructure and platform solutions to the global market," Rakuten boldly states in its press release.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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