Rakuten Mobile outlined ambitions to launch an open RAN test facility in the UK by March 2023, aiming to unlock business opportunities across the European and Middle Eastern regions.

In a statement, Rakuten Mobile explained the UK test site would focus on boosting the interoperability of equipment from multiple vendors, demonstrate emerging open RAN technologies and offer workshops on related policies, trends and initiatives.

Rakuten Mobile added the UK test centre is linked to an agreement between the UK and Japan forged earlier this year to promote and diversify business suppliers in the telecommunications field.

Japan’s government will fund the UK facility in a bid to solidify the “global strategic partnership” between the two countries.

Rakuten Mobile executive officer Nobuyuki Uchida stated the UK site will “provide an environment for testing open RAN solutions” and act as a hub for “thought leadership in Europe and the Middle East”.