Rakuten made its mark on MWC Los Angeles 2021 last month with a packed schedule of executive speaker sessions, sideline interviews, and a celebratory event to formally introduce Rakuten Symphony to the telco industry. Headlined by Rakuten Symphony CEO and Rakuten Group CTO Tareq Amin, the company’s team of tech visionaries and industry thought leaders took to the stage to inspire and challenge established thinking with a fresh vision for the future of the industry.
New solutions for a new era of telco
Before MWC Los Angeles 2021 commenced on October 26, Rakuten Symphony – the newly established Rakuten organization created to empower the global adoption of cloud-native open RAN infrastructure and services – introduced what could be one of the most innovative telco solutions in years: Symware.
“We have a great opportunity to disrupt this industry, we have a great opportunity to really connect everything and bring better value to overall society…”Tareq Amin, CEO, Rakuten Symphony and CTO, Rakuten Group
Created in collaboration with Intel and Juniper Networks, Symware tackles some of the industry’s most difficult challenges. The carrier-grade Open RAN (Radio Access Network) solution is designed for mobile network operators that want to modernize radio cell sites by leveraging the latest cloud-native architecture. It’s a multipurpose edge appliance that provides operators with the flexibility to densify their network, accommodate various network topologies, and support new features while reducing the required hardware per site. What makes the solution even more impressive is its size. Symware comes in a small box, requires no cooling and is light enough to be carried and installed by a single technician.
An ovation for symphony
Soon after announcing Symware to the world, Rakuten Symphony CEO Tareq Amin took to the main stage for a keynote address that outlined Rakuten Mobile’s journey, explaining how the cloud-native and Open RAN-based mobile network that many had thought to be impossible, was now in fact outperforming all other mobile network operators in terms of 5G speed experience in Japan.
To an intrigued audience, Amin shared his vision for the future of Rakuten Symphony: “We have a great opportunity to disrupt this industry, we have a great opportunity to really connect everything and bring better value to overall society and Rakuten Symphony is the platform idea for all the software technology stack that we have built into Japan.”
That opportunity to disrupt comes from the years of lessons learned in building the Rakuten Mobile network in Japan, packaged into solutions designed to deliver immediate benefits to the telecom industry.
Yesterday’s challenges remain
Onstage at the Open RAN Summit at MWC LA, Rakuten Symphony Chief Revenue Officer Rabih Dabboussi delivered a keynote address that outlined the journey mobile network operators must take to remain competitive in the future. Dabboussi laid out how many established players in the telco industry have made a choice to continue facing the same challenges for the past 25 years.
“Every time we go from one generation to the next, we have multiple paths from which to choose. Rakuten in 2018 … chose the path less taken [by adopting open RAN technology].”Rabih Dabboussi, Chief Revenue Officer, Rakuten Symphony
Dabboussi explained, “As we move from one generation to the next, we still go through the same story over and over again. History repeats itself.” Continued Dabboussi, “Every time we go from one generation to the next, we have multiple paths from which to choose. Rakuten in 2018 … chose the path less taken [by adopting open RAN technology].”
Throughout his address, he asserted that the future of telco is in the cloud, which will be automated and future-proof thanks to innovative solutions developed in concert with the many technology partners that form the Rakuten Symphony ecosystem.
Advice for the next generation
In a panel discussion celebrating the women driving Open RAN, Rakuten Symphony’s Azita Arvani was joined by thought leaders from Facebook, Dell Technologies, Red Hat, Vodafone, Parallel Wireless and the Open RAN Policy Coalition to discuss how young women can jump-start their careers in telecom.
“In the long term, if you really want your career to take off, you have to go somewhere where you can learn a lot and quickly.”Azita Arvani, SVP, Government Affairs and Industry Relations, Rakuten Symphony, shares advice to young women who are interested in a career in tech.
Arvani explained how her passion for learning at a young age and, in particular, a passion for understanding the physics of how voice and video come through thin air to appear on a mobile device, led her to pursue a career in telecom. She shared stories of her time at one of the world’s largest telco vendors where she was charged with bringing mobile startups into the mainstream and how that led her eventually to Rakuten Symphony.
When asked to offer her advice for young women who might be interested in a career in technology, Arvani suggested that young talented people should not only seek out the highest paying job. “Go get the best experience, even if it means you have to cut back on compensation. In the long term, if you really want your career to take off, you have to go somewhere where you can learn a lot and quickly.”
Celebrating the launch of an ecosystem: A night to remember
On the eve of MWC LA 2021, Rakuten Symphony brought together leaders from mobile network operators, technology innovators and the public sector to celebrate the introduction of the company, the open ecosystem of collaborators it is helping to form and the groundbreaking new solution dubbed Symware.