Rakuten, Tech Mahindra to build 5G labs in Tokyo and Bengaluru

01 Nov 2018

Rakuten Mobile Network, the mobile subsidiary of Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Group has signed an MoU with India’s Tech Mahindra to jointly build 4G and 5G labs in Tokyo and Bengaluru.

In a joint statement, the pair said they intend to build “a 5G-ready network lab which will be one of its kind in the industry”.

The companies said the labs in Tokyo and Bengaluru will focus on fostering innovation in the telecoms space. Tech Mahindra will also provide network integration capabilities to add value to the lab operations.

Mickey Mikitani, chairman, president and CEO of Rakuten, said the company is on the path to launching its 4G mobile service in October 2019, delivering convenience to the group’s users across 70 e-commerce, fintech and communications services.

In April Rakuten secured a government approval to deploy 4G mobile services in the 1.7-GHz frequency band and announced plans to launch as the nation's fourth mobile operator in October, 2019.

In June, Rakuten also conducted over-the-air 5G trials in the 28-GHz frequency band using equipment provided by Nokia and Intel.

“As we prepare for this launch, we are very excited to collaborate with Tech Mahindra to launch world-class labs in Tokyo and Bengaluru that will contribute to creation of the next generation of mobile broadband, enabled by 5G, and the transformation of industries across the globe,” Mikitani said.

The agreement comes on the sidelines of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan and meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to further strengthen Indo-Japan business ties.

CP Gurnani, managing director and chief executive officer of Tech Mahindra said the collaboration with Rakuten will help the company further drive innovation in the 5G space.

Tech Mahindra has a deep focus on 5G technology and is currently engaged with multiple service providers globally on their network transformation journey, Gurnani added.

In a separate announcement, Rakuten said it’s in discussion with Hokuriku Electric Power Company on the use of its transmission towers, utility poles, telecoms towers and other facilities for its planned 4G network.

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