Rakuten, which will be launching its telecom operations in Japan, announced a strategic investment in Altiostar Networks, a US-based mobile technology company.
Tewksbury, MA-based Altiostar will utilize the funding to expand its virtual Radio Access Network solutions for 4G and 5G deployment of telecoms customers. Financial details were not disclosed.
Tech Mahindra, Qualcomm, Fidelity Investments, Excelestar Ventures and Cisco Systems are the investors of Altiostar.
Rakuten is set to become the first global telecom operator to deploy a fully virtualized mobile network in Japan in October 2019, including radio access.
Rakuten in November 2018 announced its tie-up with telecom company KDDI in order to enter the mobile phone services business, challenging bigger rivals NTT Docomo and SoftBank Group. KDDI will give Rakuten access to its nationwide roaming services, while Rakuten will provide KDDI its expertise in mobile payments.
The investment in Altiostar demonstrates Rakuten’s commitment to taking a leadership role in driving RAN virtualization. Rakuten is developing an open ecosystem by participating in crafting solutions through engagement with industry leaders like Intel and Qualcomm, as well as ODMs and innovative Virtual RAN companies like Altiostar.
“Our vision for Rakuten Mobile Network is to build the world’s first fully virtualized, software-defined mobile network,” said Tareq Amin, CTO of Rakuten Mobile Network.
Open RAN architecture and virtualization are key to building software-centric networks that can scale and adapt to meet an explosion of devices and applications driving service velocity and profits,” said Ashraf Dahod, CEO of Altiostar Networks.
Rakuten Mobile Network president Yoshihisa Yamada and chief technology officer Tareq Amin will join the board of Altiostar.