Rakuten Mobile raised the ante around increasing transparency in the telecoms industry, with CTO Tareq Amin (pictured) revealing an ambitious strategy to expose hardware costs across its network.

The Japan-based operator plans to offer full transparency regarding the cost structure and architecture of its network in the coming months, Amin explained during a media roundtable.

He added its objective is to offer an open book for component pricing.

“Can you imagine what will happen to the industry if the cost of adding a remote radio head is well known…There’ll be no more secrets. I think it’s a massively important initiative”.

He reckons some of the resistance to open RAN is fuelled by concerns increased openness in pricing will hurt margins.

Amin said its experience over the past 12 months showed “open RAN is real and is not disappearing. It will continue to advance and improve…large OEMs will jump in at some point to drive lower costs for connectivity”.

He expects the initiative to be broadly welcomed in the industry and reiterated its objective not to be a hardware vendor, but a software platform company outside of Japan.

5G plan
Amin expects a “mass acceleration” in 5G site deployments in September after it hits a target of 96 per cent population coverage target with 4G.

Rakuten Mobile’s longer-term goal is for the number of 5G sites to match its LTE count, as it wants to reduce its dependency on roaming as soon as possible.

It has rolled out more than 1,000 5G base stations in all 47 prefectures.

With 22,500 open RAN sites deployed, LTE population coverage reached 88.6 per cent at end-May. The number of subscriber applications (it doesn’t disclose subscribers) hit 4.1 million, with average daily consumption reaching 510MB.