Rakuten Mobile is acquiring the operations support system (OSS) startup Innoeye. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Rakuten is already using Innoeye’s software in its greenfield wireless network in Japan to support its 4G/5G cloud.
Innoeye is based in Herndon, Virginia, and it also has an office in India. According to its LinkedIn page, it has more than 500 employees.
In March, Rakuten Mobile CTO Tareq Amin told FierceWireless that Rakuten was in the process of acquiring an OSS company that it worked with on its greenfield network. At the time, Amin said, “I’ve never been a big fan of how the OSS layer has been orchestrated for the past 20 years. If you are in any telco today, you will discover 100-plus boxes that do different things. The OSS/BSS platform we have built converges everything, converges these 100 separate boxes with artificial intelligence and machine learning.”
Aside from using Innoeye in its own network, Rakuten is hyping Innoeye’s use in its new Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP). Rakuten is packaging all its learnings from building its own mobile network and selling it to other telecom companies and enterprises around the world that want to follow in its footsteps.
RCP combines the technology blueprint and playbook of Rakuten’s cloud-native mobile network for others to more easily build and deploy cloud-native network services. It will be made available with an app-store-like interface where customers can tailor the platform to their local requirements.
“Since we first envisioned the launch of Rakuten Mobile two years ago, we have also planned to bring to market our own expertise and technology stack as a unique service that will enable operators around the world to deploy fully cloud-native telco networks of the future,” said Amin in a statement today. “With the planned acquisition of Innoeye, we are one step closer to closing the circle in bringing to market a carrier grade telco cloud product that is as simple as click, purchase and deploy.”
Rakuten Mobile earnings
Rakuten launched its mobile service on April 8, which had the unfortunate timing of coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic. In its earnings call this week the company said it hopes to meet its goal of signing up 3 million subscribers by year end. It didn’t specify how many subscribers it currently has.
New Street Research analyst Chris Hoare noted that Rakuten plans to migrate subscribers from its MVNO service to its own network. “Seventy percent of their MVNO customers are expected to migrate, suggesting almost 60% of their target base in year 1 will be their own customers,” wrote Hoare. This will put pressure on mobile revenues as MVNO subscribers migrate to the MNO. However, Hoare added, “We continue to see value in Rakuten driven by our view that over time the mobile venture will be profitable."
Rakuten now has 4,738 base stations deployed, and it expects to cover 70% of the Japanese population by March 2021.