Tech and business services company Tech Mahindra and Japanese mobile operator Rakuten Mobile have reached an agreement in which the former has been appointed as a preferred partner for global go-to-market opportunities for the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP).
Under the agreement, Tech Mahindra will provide its technologies and software capabilities to support the development and deployment of mobile networks for global customers of RCP. The Indian company will also provide managed IT, security and network services to Rakuten Mobile, and there are also plans to designate Tech Mahindra as an official reseller of RCP, Rakuten Mobile said.
“With a common vision for digital transformation of the telecommunications industry, I am very excited about the potential this partnership with Tech Mahindra has to bring more agile, responsive and efficient services to customers around the world,” said Mickey Mikitani, chairman, president and CEO of Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten.
“This first of its kind collaboration with Rakuten Mobile not only strengthens our existing partnership with them, but will also enable us to drive innovation in the telecom space, provide enhanced customer experience and lead the transformation in mobile network technology from the forefront,” said Chander Prakash Gurnani, managing director and CEO of Tech Mahindra.
RCP is a cloud-native platform developed by Rakuten Mobile for development of open networks, which RCP describes as combining “the latest technology in virtualization and automation, including containers and microservices”. RCP said that the platforms contains all the elements of the Rakuten Mobile network, including applications and software from multiple vendors, OSS and BSS, edge computing and virtual network management functions.
Tech Mahindra and Rakuten Mobile will leverage their partnership to develop and deploy virtualized mobile networks based on RCP, the partners said.
Tareq Amin, representative director, EVPand CTO of Rakuten Mobile, said, “In April this year, with the support of leading partners from around the world, we were able to achieve the incredible milestone of launching full-scale commercial services on the world’s first fully virtualized mobile network. As we take the next step on our journey, we are proud to be partnering with Tech Mahindra to offer cloud native networks to customers around the world through the Rakuten Communications Platform.”
As part of the deal, Tech Mahindra’s wholly-owned subsidiary Tech Mahindra Americas has sold its stake in U.S.-based telecom software firm Altiostar Networks for $45 million to Rakuten’s U.S. subsidiary.
In 2018, Tech Mahindra had acquired a 17.5% stake in Altiostar Networks for $15 million. Altiostar provides 4G and 5G virtualized RAN software solutions.
Rakuten Mobile expects to cover all the country’s population with its mobile service in 2021.
During Rakuten’s latest earnings call, Mikitani said that the company previously targeted full coverage in Japan by 2028, but added that it was possible to accelerate this goal by seven years. Rakuten Mobile now aims to have 70% population coverage by end-March 2021 and full coverage by summer 2021.
Mikitani also said that Rakuten Mobile had already reached 1 million mobile subscribers.
In June, Rakuten Mobile and NEC Corporation announced that the two companies have reached an agreement to jointly develop the containerized standalone (SA) 5G core network (5GC) to be used in Rakuten Mobile’s fully virtualized cloud native 5G network.
Under the terms of the deal, Rakuten Mobile and NEC will jointly develop the containerized SA 5G mobile core to be made available on the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP).