Kyivstar looks to Rakuten’s Open RAN tech to rebuild its network


A letter of intent from Kyivstar suggests that Open RAN could play a significant role in replacing the country’s damaged digital infrastructure

This week, Ukrainian operator Kyivstar has signed a letter of intent confirming that it will procure Open RAN technology from Japan’s Rakuten Symphony.

The letter says the deployment will involve both 4G and 5G technology, with initial steps towards deployment expected to take place later this year.

“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. We look forward to advancing collaboration between our two organizations and to realizing Ukraine’s digital potential through the rebuilding of the country’s digital infrastructure,” said Rakuten Group CEO Mickey Mikitani.

The deal builds on the companies’ existing relationship, which saw Mikitani accompany Japanese government officials on a diplomatic mission to Ukraine in September last year.

Kyivstar itself currently in the process of investing $600 million to rebuild the nation’s communication infrastructure over the next three years, saying it will increase this total to $1 billion over the next five years, if market conditions permit.

Exactly how much of this total will be directed towards Rakuten’s Open RAN technology remains unclear.

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