Introducing open architecture into the network is no magic bullet for operators, Rakuten Symphony CMO Geoff Hollingworth (pictured) told Mobile World Live, emphasising the need for a change of mindset and use of the new architecture as a basis to optimise and develop services.

In an interview, the executive highlighted it’s what was built on top of the new open systems which would make the impact, adding there was also a need for a move away from traditional requirements when introducing systems such as open RAN.

Discussing the European market specifically, he noted often cited efforts to diversify the supply chain should revolve around building on experience but also bringing local start-ups into the mix.

“In Europe I would argue the ultimate success is to build on the technological success of Ericsson and Nokia, but including European start-ups which are focused on the telecoms space that currently don’t have an economic model.”

Rakuten Symphony is the globally-focused business charged with exporting Japanese operator Rakuten Mobile’s model to other markets.

With its open RAN-focused experience gained in Japan, Hollingworth believes his company is well placed to be a key enabler for the continent to support its own telecoms software supply chain.

However, he warned a change of mindset on the operator side was required to avoid “trying to do the new thing the old way” adding if they attempt to issue an RFP which lists all the elements traditionally required in network equipment they would end up left with the two standard choices.

No more trials
Rakuten Symphony has already announced a major deal in Europe with German newcomer 1&1 and is on the hunt for more customers in the region, though Hollingworth said trials were off the table.

“We don’t engage in trials anymore because we don’t understand what we’re trialling,” he said, pointing to Rakuten Mobile’s deployment in Japan.

“We’ve proven it works, we know it works: the question is what you want to achieve as an outcome. It’s got to be something [a project] where you’re committing to roll something out, as we haven’t got the bandwidth [for lots of trial builds]”.

He added lengthy trials were “where companies like us go to die”.