Kyivstar plans to buy Open RAN gear from Rakuten Symphony

Kyivstar plans to buy Open RAN gear from Rakuten Symphony
From left: Volodymyr Lutchenko, Kyivstar CTO; Lasha Tabidze, Veon Group Digital Operator Officer; Mickey Mikitani, group chairman and CEO of Rakuten; Vice Minister Hiroshi Yoshida, vice-minister of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan; Kaan Terzioglu, Veon Group CEO; Oleksandr Komarov, Kyivstar CEO; and Hideyuki Hirama, EVP, COO and CSO, Rakuten Symphony

Veon’s Ukrainian subsidiary Kyivstar revealed at Mobile World Congress 2024 on Monday it intends to purchase and deploy Open RAN and 5G technologies from Japan’s Rakuten Symphony into its network.

Kyivstar and Rakuten Symphony have signed of a Letter of Intent (LoI) that confirms Kyivstar’s intent to use Rakuten’s Open RAN and 5G technologies to help rebuild Ukraine's digital infrastructure and support Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction.

The next step, which will happen later this year, involves defining the scope of their initiative, which will involve both 4G and 5G Open RAN.

The LOI, which was signed on February 10 in Tokyo, follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in August 2023 by Rakuten Symphony and Veon to explore cooperation in Ukraine, with the goal of accelerating the reconstruction of the country’s infrastructure, through collaboration on Open RAN and digital services.

“Rakuten is extremely proud to continue its support for Ukraine’s efforts to rebuild its infrastructure and in supporting Kyivstar’s vision for deploying Open RAN,” said Mickey Mikitani, chairman and CEO of Rakuten Group. “We look forward to advancing collaboration between our two organizations and to realising Ukraine’s digital potential through the rebuilding of the country’s digital infrastructure.” 

Veon has already committed US$600 million in investments over three years to support Ukraine’s reconstruction and recovery, and intends to widen the scope of that commitment to YS$1 billion in five years, market conditions permitting.

“We are now in the implementation phase of our US$600 million investment commitment for the reconstruction of Ukraine,” said Veon group CEO Kaan Terzioglu. “I share the excitement of our Kyivstar team, under the leadership of Kyivstar CEO Oleksandr Komarov, in working with Rakuten to rebuild the country’s infrastructure with Open RAN as a part of this commitment.”


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