Amsterdam-headquartered multinational telecoms group VEON has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rakuten Symphony, part of Japanese technology conglomerate Rakuten Group, to explore cooperation in Ukraine with the goal of accelerating the reconstruction of infrastructure, through collaboration on Open RAN networks and digital services.

Under the MoU, the partners aim to create ‘a robust and future-proof telecommunications infrastructure that can seamlessly deliver high speed connectivity enhanced with 5G, enabling the next generation of digital services’ in Ukraine, where VEON owns the market-leading cellco Kyivstar. The two companies will also explore partnerships in other VEON markets.

Rakuten Symphony claimed ‘the world’s first end-to-end fully virtualised, cloud-native mobile network’ with its parent company Rakuten Mobile in Japan, while it also shares a focus on digital ecosystems with VEON. Kyivstar owns and operates ‘Ukraine’s leading digital services in health, entertainment, information and education’, while Rakuten has wide international experience in messaging and financial services. Rakuten’s instant messaging app Rakuten Viber is a well-known digital communication app in Ukraine, while the firm also provides services to Ukrainian businesses including via an existing partnership with Kyivstar.

Mickey Mikitani, Chairman of Rakuten Group and Rakuten Symphony, said: ‘We look forward to bringing our technological expertise from Open RAN telecom solutions and a broad range of digital services including Rakuten Viber to support Ukraine in transforming its digital landscape, as well as exploring further joint opportunities in other VEON markets.’

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