26 Oct 2023 15:49

Kyivstar, Rakuten Symphony working on launching Open RAN technology in Ukraine

MOSCOW. Oct 26 (Interfax) - Ukraine's leading mobile operator Kyivstar and Rakuten Symphony, an innovations subsidiary of Rakuten Group, an international technology conglomerate, are pursuing a project for deploying the Open RAN technology, which is key to building 5G networks in Ukraine, Kyivstar President Alexander Komarov said.

"Our cooperation with Rakuten Symphony includes three phases. We've started to create a joint laboratory to study Open RAN technology (a mobile telecom initiative for disaggregating hardware and software and creating open interfaces between them). The laboratory will serve as a basis for sharing competences and testing equipment and technology. The second stage of the project is to carry out a pilot program in the form of a small Open RAN network segment based on 10 to 15 sites, a scope that meets the needs of a small town. The third stage is to scale up the technology to build a 5G network in the future," Ukrainian media quoted Komarov as saying.

Kyivstar would be able to show some achievements on this path as early as next year, Komarov said. "I think we'll have a live network segment operating in test mode by the end of 2024 or early 2025," he said.

The project's implementation will depend to a large extent on the government's decisions regarding the timeframe and format of 5G networks deployment, Kyivstar said.

VEON CEO Kaan Terzioglu said Ukraine deserves to have the best possible 5G network architecture in the future, and the deployment of Open RAN is a huge step toward the innovative future, as it is "secure and robust, as well as (recently) proven."

As reported earlier, the international telecom group VEON owning Kyivstar was bringing in Rakuten Symphony to assist with the reconstruction of the telecom infrastructure in Ukraine.

Under a memorandum of understanding concluded between the two companies, they commit to creating "a robust and future-proof telecommunications infrastructure" that can seamlessly deliver high-speed connectivity enhanced with 5G, enabling the next generation of digital services in Ukraine, VEON said in a statement on its website.

Rakuten Group, Inc is a global leader on the Internet services market. Founded in Tokyo as an online marketplace in 1997, Rakuten grew by offering e-commerce, financial, digital content, and communications services to about 1.7 billion clients worldwide. Rakuten Group operates in 30 countries and regions and employs about 32,000 people.

Rakuten is a global messaging and financial services leader. Its messaging app Rakuten Viber is one of the most popular digital communications apps in Ukraine.

Rakuten Symphony operates in Japan, the United States, Singapore, India, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Kyivstar is a leading Ukrainian electronic communications operator, which provided services to 24 million mobile phone users and over 1.1 million home Internet users as of September. The company's services employ a broad range of mobile and fixed-line technologies, including 4G, Big Data, Cloud Solutions, cyber protection services, and digital TV.

Kyivstar is owned by VEON, an international telecommunications group trading on Nasdaq (New York) and Euronext (Amsterdam).