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Accenture Helps Rakuten Mobile Launch Fully Virtualized Cloud-Native Mobile Network

Accenture has helped Rakuten Mobile launch its fully virtualized cloud-native mobile network, from business model design to development and operation.

Rakuten Mobile’s network is fully virtualized, meaning hardware and software can be managed as a single entity. Such an approach enables network operators to minimize the cost of building, maintaining and operating large-scale infrastructure, helping increase the competitiveness of their service.

In a bid to reinvent how the network is built and operated, Rakuten Mobile enlisted the help of Accenture to design a new organization and business model to support the launch of its fully virtualized mobile network. In addition to providing overall project management, Accenture also developed new operations engineering capabilities to help Rakuten Mobile better monitor and manage the performance and architectural integrity of the network.

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Since its full-scale commercial launch in Japan in April, Rakuten Mobile’s cloud-native mobile network has handled a 2.5 times higher level of data traffic consumed by its subscribers when compared with a typical operator, despite the impact of COVID-19. Rakuten Mobile’s network operating costs are now 30% lower than those of other mobile network operators, and the company can develop and launch software more quickly than most operators can.

“I want to thank the Accenture team for working with us on this courageous journey,” said Tareq Amin, Rakuten group executive vice president and Rakuten Mobile chief technology officer. “With Accenture’s support, we have been able to transform how we operate — harnessing new network engineering principles, automation and emerging technologies — to make the world’s first fully virtualized cloud-native network a reality.”

Accenture also helped design Rakuten Mobile’s Service Experience Center, a customer-centric variation of the traditional network operations center. The Service Experience Center team is managing operations and acquiring new capabilities as Rakuten Mobile’s network evolves.

In addition, Accenture supported the development and integration of Rakuten Mobile’s Network Operating System (RNOS), which enables near real-time monitoring and control of the network. Leveraging machine learning based on real-time data reports from across the platform, the RNOS enables proactive fault detection and prevention and enhances network performance and reliability. Through the development of the RNOS platform, Accenture is helping Rakuten Mobile increase the efficiency of its operations workforce, enabling the company to pass operational savings directly to customers across Japan.

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Another capability Accenture powers for Rakuten Mobile is its Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment platform, which provides automated build, test, security and deployment functionality for Rakuten Mobile’s engineering teams, enabling the teams to innovate rapidly and consistently. All capabilities are orchestrated to work together seamlessly.

Following the launch of Rakuten Mobile’s 4G network in Japan this year, Accenture helped the company design and build a proof-of-concept that has become the Rakuten Communications Platform. This cloud-native, 5G telecommunications-as-a-service offering — enabled by Rakuten Mobile’s world-class automation practices — draws on the company’s engineering pedigree and Accenture’s cloud architecture and implementation experience to usher in a new era of computing and telecommunications convergence.

“Rakuten’s heritage of disruption, software development and delivery excellence enabled it to bring a totally new, radical vision for its Rakuten Mobile network,” said Francesco Venturini, a senior managing director at Accenture who leads its global Communications & Media industry group. “Our approach to this bold project has been to share and amplify Rakuten’s sense of discovery by helping to explore the unknown, making investments in the development of 5G and edge cloud, and bringing together the people, capabilities and assets from across Accenture’s global network to help Rakuten Mobile forge the path forward.”

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Today’s announcement comes as the edge cloud is emerging as an interchangeable cloud ecosystem encompassing storage and compute assets located at the edge and interconnected by a scalable, application-aware network that can sense and adapt to changing needs, securely and in real-time. Companies need to innovate even faster with emerging technologies to become leaders of their industries.

Accenture recently announced the creation of Accenture Cloud First, a new multi-service group of 70,000 cloud professionals, and a $3 billion investment over the next three years to rapidly expand its cloud service capabilities and offerings. Accenture Cloud First integrates the company’s wide-ranging cloud expertise to help clients across every industry accelerate their digital transformation and realize greater value at speed and scale by rapidly becoming “cloud first” businesses.

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