What’s up with… Rakuten Symphony, AWS, Open RAN, BT

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Sep 28, 2022

  • Rakuten Symphony beds in at AWS
  • NEC, Qualcomm and Fujitsu add to the slew of Open RAN announcements
  • Traders identify BT as a top takeover target

In today’s industry news roundup: Rakuten Symphony rolls into MWC Las Vegas with bulging news sack, including a partnership with AWS and a suite of cloud-native network assurance tools; NEC, Qualcomm and Fujitsu add fuel to the Open RAN fire; BT receives an unwanted accolade; and more! 

Rakuten Symphony, the cloud-enabled Open RAN technology platform and applications sister company to Rakuten Mobile, has rolled into the gambling capital of the US with a truckload of announcements for Open RAN acolytes attending the MWC Las Vegas show… The new-age vendor is making its Symworld platform, which “offers a total blueprint of cloud-native telecom operations with pre-integration of more than 110 cloud-native functions developed by Rakuten Symphony from over 56 industry vendors”, available on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. “This effort aims to make it easier for telecom service providers to adopt and accelerate their cloud transformation at scale,” claims Symphony. The deployment of Symworld on AWS will “support Rakuten Symphony’s drive to rapidly launch new products and updates to the platform and accelerate global deployment of the platform.” 

That’s not all… It seems Rakuten Symphony is looking to disrupt the communications networking management software system sector with the launch of its Symops Service Assurance suite of products that have not only been tried and tested but are currently deployed in the Rakuten Mobile network in Japan. The suite, which aims to replace traditional operational support system (OSS) tools that the Symphony team claims are “no longer fit for purpose” in dynamic cloud-native 5G networks, are the “result of four years of investment to fully operationalise the end-to-end fault, configuration and performance management in a fully virtualised, dynamic cloud-based telecom operation”, according to Rakuten Symphony. Read more

And the Rakuten Symphony team is throwing even more down on the Vegas tables… In addition to the planned unveiling of its RAN intelligent controller (RIC) platform, Symphony is also crowing about a new multipurpose distributed unit platform. Developed in partnership with Intel, it is being deployed in 23,000 locations at the edge of the Rakuten Mobile network in Japan in a move that Symphony claims will reduce datacentre and associated operational costs by 50%. Read more

Plenty of others are fanning the Open RAN flames in Vegas. Qualcomm says it has started sampling its X100 5G RAN Accelerator Card and Qualcomm QRU100 5G RAN Platform to global customers and partners for the “integration and verification of next-generation 5G mobile infrastructure solutions. NEC has opened a North American innovation hub for Open RAN in New Providence, New Jersey, and launched its cloud-native Open RAN software suite. And Fujitsu Network Communications has unveiled its Virtuora service management and orchestration (SMO) solution to “enable intelligent, automated and adaptive service delivery over multi-layer, multi-vendor mobile networks, subnets, network slices and the cloud” and provide “lifecycle service orchestration, control and management across Open RAN networks.”  

Bloomberg has heaped some unwanted pressure on the board of BT Group by identifying the UK’s national telco as the company regarded by M&A specialists and traders as the most vulnerable to being taken over because of its depressed share price, which currently stands at 127 pence on the London Stock Exchange and which has lost 32.4% of its value in the past six months. There were suggestions that Altice owner Patrick Drahi might bid to acquire all of BT after building an 18% stake in the UK operator, but such a move did not transpire and Drahi’s stake was given the all clear by the UK government, which now has the power to step in and halt a takeover of BT by anyone if the move is deemed to be a threat to British security. Besides, the Financial Times has noted that the Bloomberg survey of M&A specialists and traders has a very poor track record of actually identifying any companies that were ultimately sold, or even had to fend off an unwanted takeover bid, so BT might not feel too uneasy at topping the list…

Orange has opened the doors to its first 5G lab in Jordan to explore new use cases and provide training on using the technology. The lab, situated in the Al Abdali area, will serve as an “open space” for co-innovation and development, enabling companies and startups to explore use cases utilising 5G networks, including augmented reality-powered gaming, virtual reality tourism and remote medical consultations. The lab is being opened as the country is still waiting for the launch of commercial 5G services.

Global readiness for the metaverse seems to be spreading, with 78% of business professionals worldwide expressing willingness to participate in immersive experiences instead of using current tools, such as video conferencing, according to a new study commissioned by Ciena. On the basis of surveying 15,000 people globally, the company concluded that readiness varies across regions, with India and the Philippines feeling most comfortable with embracing metaverse features like having HR meetings in a virtual space. People in Japan were less convinced of the benefits, with only 57% showing willingness. In total, 96% of respondents saw the value of virtual meetings due to enhanced collaboration and convenience. However, unreliable network performance was listed as the top concern for 38% of professionals, followed by a conviction that immersive platforms are not yet widely available. Find out more.

Orange Belgium says it is accelerating its deployment of the systems it needs to enable it to have a cloud-native standalone 5G network. In a press release (in French), the operator says it is working with Ericsson for the core network, Oracle Communications for the signalling network functions and routing, and Nokia for the user data management and 5G radio access network (RAN) elements. The operator, which doesn’t give a timeline for when all these systems will be in place, says its standalone 5G network will enable it to offer network slicing-based services to its customers and will “open the door to the future development of value-added, on-demand and tailor-made services for consumer markets and Industry 4.0 services” based on 5G’s  enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable and low latency communications (URLLC), and massive machine-type communications (mMTC) capabilities. Belgium is a relatively small but competitive market, where Orange is up against national operator Proximus, which is also banging the network slicing drum, and Telenet which, along with two new entrants, picked up 5G spectrum in the auction that was held in June  

Sports streaming service DAZN, wounded by its failure to snap up BT Sport earlier this year, has instead splashed out to acquire Eleven Sports, which boasts top-level football broadcast rights in Portugal and Belgium, as well as some operations in Asia. Read more

- The staff, TelecomTV

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