Rakuten Wireless will use Movandi’s smart repeater with its BeamXR open-RAN technology to expand the company’s coverage and capacity of its 5G millimeter wave (mmWAve) network in Japan. The operator said earlier this year that it is planning to launch 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) service in December using a combination of mmWave and sub-6 GHz spectrum. Movandi CEO and co-founder Maryam Rofougaran said that Rakuten is very aggressively pushing 5G and has already deployed thousands of mmWave sites.  She added that Movandi’s BeamXR technology is able to solve many of the challenges of mmWave spectrum such as extending coverage while still maintaining low latency and also overcoming some of the spectrum’s line-of-sight issues.  

One big advantage of using Movandi’s BeamXR is that by extending mmWave coverage operators don’t need to deploy as many towers, which allows them to reduce their labor and constructions costs and speed deployment because they don’t need as many permits. “We’ve been trying to bring the price of the technology down to the level of Wi-Fi,” Rofougaran said.

Plus, the company also is working to reduce the size of its BeamXR modules so it can be used in many different types of devices and even incorporated into laptops.

Rakuten Mobile said in May that it was planning to launch FWA in Japan in December and was just waiting for customer premises equipment (CPE) to arrive. The company also said that it had 400 MHz pf mmWave spectrum to use for its FWA deployment.

Besides Rakuten, Movandi has publicly revealed it is working with Verizon Wireless and Korea Telecom on their FWA deployments. However, Rofougaran said that the company is engaged in some capacity with about every operator globally that is either testing or trialling FWA in mmWave spectrum.

She also said that more operators are interested in deploying FWA because they are realizing the potential of the service. “This is going to become more mainstream,” she predicted, adding that there is no reason mmWave can’t provide the same throughput and low latency that fiber can.

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