Rakuten Mobile, working with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), announced the completion of an R&D project aimed at the commercial deployment of a fully virtualised 5G Standalone (SA) mobile network using general-purpose hardware and cloud technology. The project reportedly forms part of NEDO’s ‘Research and Development Project of Enhanced Infrastructures for Post-5G Information and Communication Systems’, which seeks to utilise virtualisation technology to deploy 5G SA and radio access network (RAN) slicing, as well as performance improvement and extension of network functionality. The tests concluded the potential of reducing CAPEX and OPEX costs by as much as 30% compared to conventional mobile networks requiring dedicated hardware and software.

Rakuten Mobile plans to introduce 5G virtualisation technology for commercial launch of 5G SA mobile networks in the future, and through its subsidiary company Rakuten Symphony, the Japanese MNO aims ‘to further accelerate the global deployment of advanced, fully virtualised 5G Standalone mobile network platforms developed in Japan’. For its part, NEDO says it aims to build and strengthen the manufacturing of post-5G information and communication systems in Japan by developing technologies that will form a core part of post-5G networks.

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