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Rakuten Symphony lands in Europe with three locally registered operations

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Rakuten Symphony is expanding its operations in three markets as it looks to bring its Open RAN technologies to Europe and the UK.

Officially unveiled today, Rakuten Symphony UK Ltd, Rakuten Symphony France S.A.S.U and Rakuten Symphony Deutschland GmbH are intended to strengthen local presence while becoming "attractive hubs for the next generation of European tech talent to develop advanced and innovative technologies".

They are headquartered in London, Paris and Dusseldorf respectively.

“Europe is a mature market for mobile network infrastructure and yet mobile network operators and governments are incredibly open to the opportunities Open RAN technologies can bring to the region,” said Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Symphony.

“We’re expanding our operations across Europe to strengthen our research and development capabilities and our commitment to the region. We will collaborate closely with European operators, vendors, governments and academic institutions to contribute to developing the region’s Open RAN technologies, while working to realize our vision of providing a future-proof, cost-effective, cloud-based connectivity platform to transform the delivery of telecommunications services by mobile network operators.”

The launches come at key time for Open RAN ambitions in both the UK and Europe.

Jut over a year ago Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone signed an MoU to promote the roll-out of Open RAN technology with the four saying they would “work together with existing and new ecosystem partners, industry bodies like the O-RAN Alliance and the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), as well as European policy makers, to ensure Open RAN quickly reaches competitive parity with traditional RAN solutions”.

In November Telecom Italia (TIM) became the fifth Beatle and the group released a report with Analysys Mason that highlighted how Europe had only 13 major Open RAN players at the time of writing, compared to 57 for the rest of the world.

On the back of that they submitted five policy recommendations to the European Union (EU) to build an Open RAN ecosystem in Europe.

Reinforcing the business case for Rakuten Symphony's new operations, their report further highlighted that many European players have not yet secured commercial Open RAN contracts. Orange has made further calls to diversify the continent's open RAN ecosystem. 

Leading the RAN

Rakuten Symphony France S.A.S.U, will "lead local efforts to expand adoption of products, services and solutions", and also lead Rakuten's Digital Experience operation.

Located in the existing technology centre in Montpellier, Digital Experience looks after BSS, digital business platforms and the international wholesale business and is headed by Olivier Alluis. He will now lead both operations out of the Montpellier base.

A leader has not yet been named for Rakuten Symphony Deutschland GmbH, although it was confirmed that "commercial efforts are on track and capabilities within the country are expanding at a rapid pace with a strong drive for recruitment".

Meanwhile in the UK, Rakuten will leverage its 2021 acquisition of Altiostar Networks’ R&D centre to focus on 4G and 5G Open RAN software and hardware development and testing for Rakuten Symphony. The firm said it will also look to leverage the UK's appetite for Open RAN following the government target for 35% of mobile network traffic in the UK to be carried over open and interoperable RAN architectures by 2030.

This operation will be headed by Nastasi Karaiskos.

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