Rakuten Mobile unveiled a wide-reaching agreement with Tech Mahindra covering global deployment of the Japanese operator’s virtualised, cloud-based mobile network platform, along with several other aspects.

Under the deal, the India-headquartered ICT provider will become the preferred partner for developing and deploying the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP), becoming a reseller. It will also handle the operator’s domestic IP security and network services.

Chander Prakash Gurnani, MD and CEO of Tech Mahindra, said the agreement strengthens an existing partnership and takes Rakuten Mobile’s open network innovations to the next level.

Mickey Mikitani, chairman and CEO of Rakuten Mobile, said Tech Mahindra has strong relationships with operators around the world and the deal supports its plan to export RCP.

He noted the agreement is not just about networks, as it plans to work with enterprises as well.

Rakuten Mobile will also inherit Tech Mahindra’s stake in open RAN vendor Altiostar, though Mikitani did not say what this would take the Japanese company’s holding to, explaining only it will enable it to provide the RAN on its RCP.

Marc Einstein, chief analyst at Japan-based research company ITR, told Mobile World Live if open RAN continues to gain momentum, Rakuten Mobile may have been wise to hedge its bets in case of lacklustre results in Japan by investing in an up-and-coming vendor.

He noted the deal is clearly positive for Tech Mahindra, although it remains uncertain what global demand for the RCP will be.

Mikitani claimed the can reduce opex by more than 30 per cent and capex as much as 40 per cent.

Tech Mahindra worked closely with the operator to roll out its 4G network.