Rakuten Symphony moved to bundle Juniper Networks’ RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) with its Symworld platform, a move the Japan-based company’s CEO Tareq Amin (pictured) argued would prove as disruptive to the industry as Apple’s App Store.

RICs are designed to control base stations from a variety of open RAN vendors, providing features including power management in real- and non real-time.

AvidThink analyst Roy Chua told Mobile World Live Rakuten Symphony’s use of Juniper Networks’ RIC is an extension of a partnership revealed at MWC21 Los Angeles to create the Symware Distributed Unit.

Amin stated including Juniper Networks’ RIC into Symworld would provide an app store-like experience for operators and third-party developers, reducing deployment times from several months to one day.

“What a RIC could provide to an operator is going to be remarkable, not only the exposure of real-time interfaces and non-real time interfaces, but the idea of controlling and optimising the RAN function is extremely important.”

Omdia analyst James Crawshaw told MWL Juniper Networks’ stood to benefit greatly if it becomes the sole RIC provider for Symworld “given Rakuten’s strong recognition in the open RAN community” and the US vendor’s “limited prior track record in radio infrastructure or software applications”.

“They presumably have settled for a revenue share agreement on the apps that run on the RIC, terms that other RIC suppliers may have passed on.”

Chua noted there are many RIC providers in the market, with no clear means of evaluating them.

“It’s down to relationships in terms of who’s partnered with whom.”