Etisalat brings in Rakuten to help with OpenRAN

UAE operator group Etisalat is the latest telco to use Rakuten’s platform to accelerate its adoption of OpenRAN technology.

The Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP) is the Japanese MNO’s way of offering some of the cleverness it has put into its greenfield 5G deployment to others. Telefónica was one of the first to get involved with RCP and now the buzz has spread to the Middle East in the form of a memorandum of understanding between Rakuten and Etisalat.

“Etisalat Group and our affiliate networks across the Middle East and Africa bring rich services and experiences to our customers across the region,” said Hatem Bamatraf, Etisalat’s CTO. “This is a unique opportunity for Etisalat and Rakuten Mobile to co-explore and further develop next generation mobile networks based on RCP that will allow Etisalat to leverage a cost-effective, cloud-native, Open RAN based mobile network architecture that is secure, scalable and reliable.”

“We’re excited to work with Etisalat to build a new generation of telecom infrastructure based on the Rakuten Communications Platform which will bring cost effective mobile services to their customers across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia,” said Tareq Amin, CTO of Rakuten Mobile.

RCP isn’t only about OpenRAN, with various other bits of cleverness all designed to improve the way 5G networks run, but that’s certainly the most eye-catching angle. MoUs are fairly symbolic gestures, so this doesn’t necessarily indicate a strong commitment by Etisalat in the direction of OpenRAN. But it at least demonstrates it’s giving it some serious thought.

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