Rakuten Symphony makes sweet music with Robin.io acquisition

  • Rakuten Symphony has splashed out again to add to its tech portfolio
  • Announces acquisition of Robin.io at #MWC22
  • Exec says Robin.io is ‘foundational’ to Rakuten
  • Robin.io’s networking-oriented cloud platform will, once the deal closes, be offered to operators worldwide as part of Symphony’s Open RAN-focused package

BARCELONA – Mobile World Congress 2022 – Rakuten Symphony, the Open RAN-focused vendor spin-out from Japanese mobile operator Rakuten Mobile, has opened its wallet once again to add further tech smarts to its portfolio with the acquisition of Robin.io for an undisclosed sum.

Cloud-native platform specialist Robin.io, which has developed a networking-oriented Kubernetes system to run telecoms functions, is not unknown to Symphony and its parent, Rakuten Mobile, as the Japanese 4G and 5G network operator has been using the cloud native startup’s technology for a couple of years already and knows how it fits into, and the role it plays in, virtualized mobile network environments. 

And last year, Robinm.io raised $38 million in funding in a round that was led by Rakuten Capital. (See Rakuten invests in cloud-native telco platform specialist Robin.io.)

“Edge cloud requirements are unique and critical as mobile operators transition to 5G: The next era of digital experience requires another level of performance, responsiveness and consistency that enables telecom operator and enterprise transformation to be safely accelerated while creating a platform to support the next 10 years of experiences. Robin.io’s cloud capability is proven to be effective for the most demanding workloads in mobile and we believe it will allow Rakuten Symphony to safely accelerate cloud-native transformation for our customers and prepare the industry for the future,” said Tareq Amin, CEO, Rakuten Symphony. “We plan to continue to invest into Robin.io’s cloud-native portfolio of products to further advance our capabilities and offer the most advanced and highly integrated cloud platform mobile operators demand.”

Once the deal closes, Robin.io will become a key part of the Open RAN-enabling technology that Symphony is pitching to operators around the world. 

“I am delighted that Robin.io’s technology innovations over the last several years will now get a much bigger canvas to lead the vision for cloud-native transformation for the industry. Our vision to deliver simple to use, easy to deploy hyperscale automation is very well aligned,” said Partha Seetala, CEO, Robin.io. “We believe Robin.io’s customers will hugely benefit from the synergies of cloud-native technology innovations from Robin.io, and the open competitive infrastructure solutions and global scale of Rakuten Symphony. This is indeed an exciting phase for us as we work together to bring a much larger ecosystem together to deliver higher value for our customers globally.”

And the takeover signals just the latest stage in a fast-developing relationship, says Rakuten Symphony CMO Geoff Hollingworth.

“What had become apparent is that moving highly demanding apps into a cloud environment isn’t just a case of lobbing those apps onto a high-performance cloud – there’s a lot of engineering work to be done. And we know that Robin.io’s technology works for Rakuten Mobile, so we know it will work for everything else. The company is foundational to everything we do,” added the CMO.

Of course, this isn’t the first acquisition made by Rakuten for the Symphony portfolio, as vRAN specialist Altiostar was brought into the Rakuten fold in 2021.   

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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