Rakuten customers to roam onto KDDI via virtualised Cisco fu

Rakuten customers to roam onto KDDI via virtualised Cisco functions

15 April 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Japanese cloud-based mobile carrier Rakuten has launched its roaming agreement with KDDI to allow customers to keep in touch across the country.

Rakuten Mobile runs an existing 4G network and plans to launch its 5G services in June 2020.

The latest deal, working with Cisco, means Rakuten can offer service continuity for its customers, provide a superior connection, and allow data and voice services to move seamlessly from one operator’s network to another.

“With the launch of our S10 roaming service, we are setting a new experience standard for service and device continuity over multiple networks,” said Tareq Amin (pictured), CTO of Rakuten Mobile. S10 is a signalling interface approved by 3GPP, the global mobile standards body.

“With KDDI’s collaborative support, Rakuten Mobile and Cisco are showcasing new ways to combine our technology and talent to bring big benefits to the people who rely on our networks to stay connected every day.”

Amin is former CTO of Reliance Jio, the Indian mobile operator that has undercut other companies in the country. Rakuten, owned by a Japanese electronic commerce and online retailing company, is modelling its launch on that of Jio.

Cisco’s Jonathan Davidson, general manager of mass scale infrastructure, explained: “Adding S10 handover between Rakuten Mobile and KDDI offers Rakuten Mobile subscribers a seamless mobility experience with undetected transition as they move between networks.”

In the new service, Cisco’s virtual ultra-packet core connects mobility management entities (MMEs) between Rakuten Mobile and KDDI. The MMEs track relevant user data sessions to ensure smooth handover from one operator’s network to the next.

The data path will be managed by connecting the KDDI network with Cisco’s system architecture evolution gateway virtualised network functions (VNFs) supporting a control and user plane separation architecture.