Rakuten Symphony CRO Rabih Dabboussi indicated the open RAN platform provider experienced an intensity of interest in its offering since MWC Barcelona 2022, with more than 100 players identified as potential customers.

During a media and analyst call to discuss Rakuten Mobile’s Q2 results, Dabboussi said it had been aided by so-called brownfield operators progressing in testing and validating software-centric architecture.

Of the 115 companies said to be in its sales pipeline, 13 had signed up as customers with a further seven defined as closing, he noted.

“The intensity with which customers have been reaching out to us on this has increased significantly this year,” he added, noting moves towards open RAN and virtualiastion were “bringing the mission of Rakuten Symphony to the front line”.

“We believe the interest will continue to accelerate and intensify,” the executive noted.

Mobile losses
Dabboussi’s comments came as Rakuten Mobile, which runs its Japanese mobile operation, continued to operate in the red.

The company, though, was quick to highlight improving sequential trends and note it was still on track to achieve profitability goals.

Rakuten Mobile’s revenue in Q2 increased almost 65 per cent year-on-year to JPY84.6 billion ($627 million), attributed to recruitment of new subscribers and the expiry of initial promotions giving out services for free.

Despite the jump in revenue, the operator booked an operating loss of JPY124 billion, compared with a loss of almost JPY100 billion in Q2 2021.

During its media call, Rakuten Mobile CEO Tareq Amin reiterated the company’s belief its costs and losses peaked in Q1.

It expects to reach profitability during 2023, as ARPU increases and costs fall due to an increase in the proportion of traffic using its own network rather than being connected through roaming agreements.

Net figures were not recorded by segment or broken down by quarter.

Across the whole of internet giant Rakuten Group’s business, its H1 net loss was JPY118 billion compared with JPY78 billion, with revenue up 12.6 per cent to JPY894 billion.