Rakuten Symphony marks independence with edge products launch, more executive hires

Rakuten Symphony, newly hived off from its parent Rakuten, has given the market an indication of future strategy by announcing plans to develop an edge device in tandem with Juniper and Intel.

The portable hardware, dubbed Symware by the trio, is aimed at simplifying 5G cell deployments. It will tackle one of the major problems associated with disaggregated Open RAN deployments, such as how to provide consistent routing across different physical and virtual architectures.

Symware equipment

Symware equipment. The company is promising “Single person carry, zero-touch provisioning, ‘plug & play’ cabinet-free installation.”
Source: Rakuten Symphony

The device will also enable key 5G features such as network slicing and dynamic steering of traffic through segment routing. It also supports automation through zero-touch provisioning and Rakuten says its routing functionality and containerized Distribution Unit will save carriers CAPEX and OPEX when building out 5G networks. The trio expects the product to ship in the first half of 2022.

Symphony’s growing movement

Symware marks the debut of Rakuten Symphony as a separate entity from its parent, Rakuten. Rakuten, often called “the Amazon of Japan,” is not as well known as it should be outside its core markets. The company runs a mass-market e-commerce operation, and on top of that operates a mobile network business and is well known for being a 5G pioneer.

Following the split from its parent company, Rakuten Symphony is home to various products from the wide range of acquisitions Rakuten has made in this space in the last few years such as Altiostart, a vRAN provider, and most recently, Estmob, a peer to peer file transfer service. A prominent advocate of Open RAN, Rakuten is hoping to disrupt the current cozy ecosystem of incumbents such as Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei, which will make it an interesting company to follow over the next few years.

To do that, the company has been rapidly expanding its headcount. There are currently 387 employees, compared to 181 at the start of the year, according to data from LinkedIn.

Among the recent hires, Geoff Hollingworth has been hired as CMO for Rakuten Symphony. Hollingworth has had roles at Ericsson, AT&T and most recently was CMO for MobiledgeX. He joins eight other executive hires since July 2021, including CEO Tareq Amin, who joined in August 2021.

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