Tokyo’s Rakuten Mobile OpenRAN network convinces compared to other metropolitan networks worldwide

In the latest umlaut Audit Report, Rakuten Mobile achieves in Tokyo 920 out of 1,000 points and scores “very good” only about one year after launch and shows the potential of OpenRAN under real-life conditions.

In the latest umlaut Audit Report, Rakuten Mobile achieves in Tokyo 920 out of 1,000 points and scores “very good”.
(PresseBox) ( Aachen, )
Aachen/Tokyo, June 7, 2021 – umlaut, the global consultancy company and world leader in mobile network testing and benchmarking, has analysed the performance of the OpenRAN mobile network of Rakuten Mobile in Tokyo. Based on its methodology established as the global de-facto industry standard, umlaut compared the Rakuten Mobile OpenRAN network with the leading mobile networks in the cities Atlanta, Berlin, Johannesburg, London, Mexico City, Riyadh, Rome, Sao Paulo, Milan, New York, Seattle, Sydney and Zurich. Conclusion: The Rakuten mobile network performs competitively to the top networks in the 13 cities showing a “very good” performance with an umlaut score of 920 points out of 1,000.


This report is of special interest as it compares the new OpenRAN approach with conventional networks. The main difference of OpenRAN is the use of off the shelf hardware and a software-based feature implementation for cellular radio networks, as far as possible. The foundation of the OpenRAN ecosystem was made by large mobile operator groups encouraging software companies to develop a technology which implements the radio network features of 4G and 5G with software running on general purpose processing platforms. Creating an alternative to purchasing specialised radio network hardware of the incumbent suppliers. This shall add flexibility in selecting the best-of-breed RAN components allowing operators building multiple generation networks. However, OpenRAN networks shall at least perform on par with conventional network implementations or even better.


“Congratulation to Rakuten Mobile. The OpenRAN network achieves an umlaut score of 920 points in Tokyo and the grade “very good”. This is remarkable, as, on global level, Rakuten has already a very good performance level – even before its first anniversary of network launch,” says Hakan Ekmen, CEO Telecommunication at umlaut.


Mobile networks are undergoing a significant transformation, with a movement away from the closed, proprietary systems of legacy networks to more open, efficient and flexible systems known in the industry as OpenRAN. OpenRAN solutions with truly open interfaces compete with traditional network implementations. OpenRAN promises high flexibility and faces complexity challenges, while conventional solutions deliver clear responsibilities for the interfaces and an optimised interworking between them.


Worldwide Rakuten is one of the first large scale adopters of OpenRAN. In April 2020, Rakuten launched the first commercial 4G OpenRAN network in Japan. umlaut compared the Rakuten OpenRAN network of the 10-million-inhabitant metropolis of Tokyo with the network performance of other cosmopolitan cities all over the world. The umlaut Score evaluates three main categories: Coverage – Where is the mobile network available? Speed – How many speed samples are good for supporting popular services like basic internet, HD Video and UHD Video? Latency – How many of the latency executed on users’ handsets are good enough for OTT voice services and Gaming? The proven methodology was used to calculate the umlaut Score for the mobile networks in the selected cities. For a fair comparison, umlaut selected the lowest and highest achieved score of the mobile networks in each city to directly compare it with the Rakuten OpenRAN network in Tokyo.


The Rakuten Mobile network in Tokyo shows with 920 points competitive performance level with best operator in Atlanta (914 points), Berlin (916 points), Johannesburg (918 points), London (911 points), Mexico City (854 points), Rome (898 points), Riyadh (858 points) and Sao Paulo (906 points), New York (922 points), Milan (939 points), Seattle (936 points), Zurich (936 points) and Sydney (940 points).


In the coverage category and speed categories, the Rakuten Mobile network shows competitive user experience on eye-level with the leading operators in the 13 cities. The Rakuten Mobile network shows room for improvement in Latency category. All in all, the Rakuten Mobile network in Tokyo delivers a very good user experience comparable to that of the leading mobile networks in other big cities.


Being at the core of innovation, umlaut has a strong interest to evaluate the customer experiences of those front-running networks and compare it with network performance of established player. The aim is to offer a unique perspective into this new ecosystem.



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