Marking another major milestone for Rakuten Mobile Network, the company announced the official opening of a new next generation 5G network lab in Tokyo with Tech Mahindra, a leading provider of digital transformation, consulting and business reengineering services and solutions.

The Rakuten Cloud Innovation Laboratory, which opened its doors on February 20, 2019, is a unique, fully automated testing facility that aims to foster innovation across mobile network, IT digital architecture, cloud and enterprise applications.

Rakuten primed to lead 5G revolution

While traditional telecoms race to prepare themselves for the coming 5G revolution, their reliance on legacy telecom hardware is holding them back. In contrast, Rakuten has no outdated infrastructure to maintain, and thus the company does not need to face the challenge of transforming their network from 3G or 4G to 5G.

“5G is the universal growth code that will fuel growth across industry verticals and domains,” added CP Gurnani, managing director and CEO of Tech Mahindra. “The Tokyo 5G lab is just the beginning of what Rakuten and Tech Mahindra can achieve to define the 5G Economics of future.”

“From day zero,” Rakuten Mobile Network chief technology officer (CTO) Tareq Amin explained, “Rakuten network is 5G ready.”

As the world’s first end-to-end fully virtualized cloud-native 5G-ready mobile network, Rakuten will be able to deploy all services via software, in the cloud, making upgrades, maintenance and capacity scaling significantly faster, more reliable and cost effective than traditional operators.

Now, with the Rakuten Cloud Innovation Laboratory open, the Rakuten Mobile Network team has an ideal space to drive 5G innovation and continue building toward the launch of their next generation mobile network.

A place where the best and brightest minds can work and play 

The world-class next generation (4G and 5G) software-defined network lab is designed to be a modern workspace where the best and brightest minds in mobile can work and play. This is good news for future mobile customers.

“Our collaboration with Tech Mahindra on this world-class lab will allow us to drive innovation and disruption in the mobile industry, and takes us one step closer to providing consumers with a broad variety of cost-effective services,” commented Rakuten CEO Mickey Mikitani.

Photos of facility interior (Upper and lower left: server room, upper right: radio station equipment, lower right: shield room)

Photos of facility interior (Upper and lower left: server room, upper right: radio station equipment, lower right: shield room)

The lab’s infrastructure enables comprehensive end-to-end testing across the entire network — a key for building an efficient next generation network. Its robust testing capabilities in the lab replicate end-to-end network domains, including the virtualized RAN (radio access network), Mobile edge, virtualized EPC (evolved packet core), virtualized IMS (IP multimedia subsystem) core, OSS (operations support systems) and BSS (business support systems), along with scalable network traffic simulation capabilities. This testing will reduce anomalies in the software, lowering the instance of failures in commercial networks.

Furthermore, the lab implements and automates the entire Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline, which, coupled with DevOps principles, enables Rakuten to quickly test, integrate and continuously deploy new features and technologies, eliminating the need for late night maintenance, reducing operating costs, and contributing to improving the network experience for customers.

The result of all of this testing? Rakuten believes it will aid in the process of building a truly transformative mobile network — one that not only makes waves in Japan, but around the globe.


Rakuten will be at MWC in Barcelona from Mon, Feb 25, 2019 – Thu, Feb 28, 2019, where company leaders will share their vision for the future of mobile. For more details, visit here.

Header Photo: From left, Yoshihisa Yamada, representative director and president of Rakuten Mobile Network, Ichiro Nakagawa, vice president of Global Service Provider Japan at Cisco Systems G.K., Mickey Mikitani, chairman and CEO of Rakuten, Manish Vyas, managing director and CEO of Tech Mahindra and Tareq Amin, CTO of Rakuten Mobile Network at the opening of The Rakuten Cloud Innovation Laboratory in Tokyo on Feb 20, 2019.