What does true telecom transformation look like on the industry’s biggest stage? How can Mobile as a Software™ usher in the next phase of mobile connectivity? Rakuten answered both questions, loud and clear, at this year’s Mobile World Congress 2023 in Barcelona.
From Feb 27–Mar 2, Rakuten highlighted its software-first mindset, which has already been proven at scale through Rakuten Mobile in Japan, through a number of high-impact speaking sessions, meetings and events.
Highlights from the Rakuten Booth
A key part of Rakuten Symphony’s approach to this year’s event was openness and transparency; an invitation to attendees to come to the Rakuten booth and find out first-hand how open software frameworks can help mobile operators become leaner, more agile and increasingly energy-efficient.
This open, collaborative approach was clearly reflected in the design of the Rakuten booth. Located throughout the first level of the booth were six Experience Zones staffed by Rakuten Symphony tech experts. Visitors could ask questions about the company’s Mobile as a Software™ approach and learn more about real world use cases. At the Infrastructure zone, innovative hardware utilized by Rakuten Mobile and built in collaboration with partners such as Airspan, Baytec, BMI, Sercomm and Qucell was on display for all to see. Finally, at the booth theatre, attendees were treated to a busy schedule of free and open industry sessions, which featured Rakuten’s leadership team and partners speaking on a number of key issues in telecom.
“We decided to get into the telecom business because we think that this is the largest and most meaningful disruption we can undertake.”Mickey Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten Group
Elsewhere at Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2023
Outside of the Rakuten booth, the company leadership team took part in several sessions on MWC’s main GSMA stage, speaking on trending topics like Open RAN, 5G Securities, Metaverse, Supply Chain Resiliency and the value of partner ecosystems.
On Tuesday evening, Rakuten took home two prestigious GLOMO Awards – marking the second year straight Rakuten has been awarded multiple GLOMOs. While Rakuten Symphony Symworld™ won for Best Network Software Breakthrough, Rakuten Symphony Symworld™ Cloud was awarded the Best Cloud Solution.
“Our team was truly fanatic about the concept of changing and democratizing the mobile industry in Japan.”Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Mobile and Rakuten Symphony
Rakuten Partner Program brings Mobile as a Software™ vision into focus
Rakuten’s Partner Program theater show on day two, saw Rakuten Group Chairman and CEO Mickey Mikitani take to the stage to outline how Rakuten Symphony has been able to prove doubters wrong and achieve industry-disrupting success in a variety of industry verticals, from e-commerce to credit cards to the company’s new ambitious goal of fundamentally disrupting telecom. “We decided to get into the telecom business because we think that this is the largest and most meaningful disruption we can undertake,” said Mikitani to kick off the three-hour event.
Following Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten Mobile and Rakuten Symphony Tareq Amin outlined his strategy for telecom services success, and reflected on the company’s original purpose for launching Japan’s fourth major mobile network with Rakuten Mobile. “Our team was truly fanatic about the concept of changing and democratizing the mobile industry in Japan,” said Amin.
Amin also joined other members of the leadership team to take part in a series of panel discussions with partners, where they discussed the changing face of telco and spoke about the larger industry impact they would like to see as a result of their partnerships.
Finally, an eventful Day two concluded with an intimate happy hour at the Rakuten booth, with live music, food and drinks.
ICYMI: Rakuten announcements from Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2023
In between these events, there were also multiple exciting business deals that took place.
- Rakuten Symphony and Zain KSA  announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enable strategic collaboration in building next-generation telecommunications networks based on open standards and network infrastructure provided by Rakuten Symphony.
- Salam  and Rakuten Symphony announced the signing of a strategic alliance framework agreement that will see Rakuten Symphony provide Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) and network planning, implementation and operation services to the Saudi-based telco (Salam).
- Axiata Enterprise  and Rakuten Symphony also announced an agreement that will see Rakuten Symphony supply and deliver private network telecommunications services across Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Indonesia.
Additionally, there were a number of exciting announcements from our ecosystem of Partners.
- Announced on Feb 28, AirHop Communications becomes the first vendor selected by Rakuten Symphony to launch xApps on the Symworld marketplace.
- Supermicro and Rakuten Symphony extended the collaboration to offer complete 5G, telco, and edge solutions for cloud-based open RAN networks.
- RADCOM and Rakuten Mobile are partnering to drive network automation and closed-loop optimization for 5G.
Thank you to all our partners, customers and colleagues who made the time to be with us in person in Barcelona this year and who continue to walk with us on our path to telco transformation.