Rakuten to roll out 5G for Ligado Networks

Rakuten Mobile has bagged a deal from Ligado Networks to design a private 5G network.

This network will use the Japanese operator’s customisable platform, something which Rakuten brings as a key ingredient in designing next-gen networks, based on the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP).

Ligado is currently a network operator of mobile satellite service (MSS) to government and commercial customers across North America. The Reston, Virginia-based company is enhancing its MSS offerings and developing new, innovative 5G services for enterprise customers across the public safety, manufacturing, agriculture, and other critical infrastructure sectors.

Both the companies announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) where they will collaborate to create a blueprint for Ligado’s 5G mobile private network solution that leverages RCP. As per the MoU, the companies will commence efforts in Q1 2021 with ecosystem partners and vendors to establish a timeline for the implementation of network trials and blueprint for solutions.

With this MoU, Rakuten Mobile and Ligado Networks aim to accelerate the delivery of private networks through the use of open technology. RCP combines the proven technologies and expert playbook of the world’s first end-to-end cloud native, software-centric, Open RAN based mobile network of Rakuten Mobile and its partners to offer enterprises a way to easily build and deploy fully cloud native network services at speed and low-cost.

Ligado’s licensed mid-band spectrum supports enterprises by building mobile networks that meet their requirements for availability, coverage and flexibility for indoor and outdoor deployments.

“With 5G being introduced by mobile network operators around the world, some of the most innovative use-cases will be in 5G mobile private networks. 5G brings ultra-low latency and ultra-high bandwidth enabling unprecedented experiences and services and unique applications in private networks.” commented Tareq Amin, CTO of Rakuten Mobile.

Rakuten unveiled its RCP plans late last year and since its launch has been sewing up partnerships with software ecosystem providers such as Tech Mahindra. The platform is a combination of the operator’s various technical and intellectual property that it’s using to construct its software-centric network in Japan. The RCP model is focused on mobile operators, enterprises interested in private networks, and governments.

For 5G mobile private networks, Ligado’s vision is to offer connectivity dedicated to enterprise customers allowing a single company to manage the connection of people and things as they move within and across their various locations. 5G mobile private networks deliver continuity of coverage, local compute and connectivity integration, and greater control and security.

These attributes are essential to support rapidly advancing digital use cases, such as AR/VR, smart robotics and enterprise cloud services, which provide the technology foundation for critical infrastructure entities with large footprints like factories, energy and resource operations, farms, and public utilities.

Rakuten began demonstrating the RCP platform kast year and Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani had said that it reduces capex for mobile operators by 40 per cent and opex by 30 per cent.