US-based technology company Keysight Technologies has announced that Japan’s new fourth network operator Rakuten Mobile has selected its 5G network and channel emulation solutions in testing, validation and optimisation of infrastructure and devices, as the cellco looks to accelerate the introduction of its fifth-generation network. With the Rakuten Inc. subsidiary currently in the process of building out a 5G-ready fully virtualised, cloud-native mobile network, it sees the Keysight solutions as a way to improve the efficiency in its test and validation processes – seen as ‘critical’ to the delivery of a high-performance end-user experience. Keysight’s suite of 5G network and channel emulation solutions includes its recently launched 5G Device Benchmarking Toolset, which it claims will enable Rakuten Mobile to ‘efficiently validate 5G devices and network infrastructure – end-to-end – in over-the-air (OTA) test environments’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Rakuten Mobile launched its full-blown 4G LTE cellular service in Japan on 8 April, throwing down the gauntlet to the old guard with its low-cost price plan, which industry watchers note threatens to spark a price war in the market. With the backing of the e-commerce giant, the newcomer unveiled a single price plan costing JPY2,980 (USD27.4) per month for ‘unlimited’ voice calls and mobile data – available in urban areas where its own network is live, including Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. Rakuten Mobile is currently working toward the launch of 5G commercial services in June 2020.