Telefonica partners with Japan’s Rakuten to develop open 5G network

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By Supantha Mukherjee, Isla Binnie2 Min ReadFILE PHOTO: A staff holds a smart phone which being tested for Rakuten’s under-construction mobile network at its network facility in Tokyo, Japan, February 20, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-hoon/File PhotoSTOCKHOLM/MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s Telefonica has signed a pact with Japan’s Rakuten to develop a 5G radio network system that uses an open platform and artificial intelligence, the companies said on Wednesday.The Japanese firm has become the first mobile operator to deploy a network based on a technology called Open Radio Access Network (RAN) that uses software to run network functions on the cloud, which requires less physical equipment.Rakuten plans to launch 5G services in Japan later this month, Rakuten Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer Tareq Amin said on a call with journalists, after it was forced to delay the introduction by months due to disruption from the coronavirus outbreak.The technology promises to radically cut costs for telecom operators as it uses cloud-based software and commoditized hardware instead of proprietary equipment supplied by companies such as Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei.The companies plan to develop a joint procurement scheme for Open RAN software and hardware that will increase volumes and …

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