Rakuten Mobile Network Performance Shines Through in Study Comparing Major City Networks Around the Globe: umlaut report

Mobile networks are undergoing a significant transformation, with a movement away from the closed, proprietary systems of legacy networks to more open, efficient and flexible systems known in the industry as Open RAN.

On overall performance, Rakuten Mobile’s Open RAN network in Tokyo scored 920 points out of 1,000 for a “very good” rating.

In Open RAN, the interfaces and protocols between the different parts of the mobile RAN (radio access network) are open, standardized and interoperable, allowing the network to be built with hardware and software from different vendors. It offers mobile network operators the freedom to choose hardware and software functions from their preferred vendors – reducing costs, increasing flexibility and offering freedom from the traditional approach of vendor lock-in.

While these characteristics alone are already piquing the interest of mobile network operators around the globe, there is still the question of how networks built on Open RAN standards perform compared to legacy networks. Rakuten Mobile is the world’s first and currently the only nation-wide commercial-scale network built entirely on Open RAN standards. A recent report by independent analyst firm umlaut addresses those performance questions head-on by comparing Rakuten Mobile data to that of operators in major cities around the world – and the outlook is decidedly positive.

On the network speed side, Rakuten Mobile’s network in Tokyo received the highest rating among the cities in the comparison.

umlaut made an independent review of Rakuten Mobile’s 4G Open RAN mobile network in Japan and compared its performance in Tokyo with mobile networks in other large, densely populated cities. Network performance was calculated based on umlaut’s highly regarded methodology, with ratings given as “umlaut scores.” The report focuses on Rakuten Mobile’s own network, excluding data on performance for users on its roaming partner’s network.

With leading scores on network speed and a high overall ranking, Rakuten Mobile’s network performance clearly demonstrates that not only are the concerns raised about performance unfounded but that Open RAN offers the potential to bring disruptive innovation and efficiencies to mobile operators worldwide, transforming the way operators build networks and deliver services to customers.

Rakuten Mobile achieved a level of performance close to top-ranking networks.
Rakuten Mobile achieved a level of performance in line with the highest ranking networks.

Looking at the overall performance, Rakuten Mobile’s Open RAN network in Tokyo scored 920 points out of 1,000 for a “very good” rating. Compared to other operators in the report, Rakuten Mobile in Tokyo ranked highly, surpassing the top rating networks in eight cities and achieving a level of performance close to the top-ranking networks in the remaining five cities.

Rakuten Mobile's network ranked highest for network speed.
Rakuten Mobile’s network ranked highest for network speed among all the global cities in the study.

On the network speed side, Rakuten Mobile’s network in Tokyo received the highest rating among the cities in the comparison, with a score of 376 points out of 400, 10 points higher than Seattle in second place.

Rakuten Mobile's Open RAN network is a strong contender for latency.
Rakuten Mobile’s Open RAN network is a strong contender for latency.

On the latency side, Rakuten Mobile’s Open RAN network scored 213 points out of 267, placing it ahead of, or equal to the lower end of operators covered in the report. While this was a weaker relative position than reported against other performance indicators, for a network that has only been in full commercial operation for just over a year, this is still a result that firmly places Rakuten Mobile in the ranks of leading mobile operators.

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