Rakuten Mobile signs partnership with Korean newcomer Stage X

Stage X previously said it aims to deploy 6,000 5G base stations across Korea

Japanese companies Rakuten Mobile, Rakuten Symphony and South Korean mobile network operator Stage X announced an agreement with the aim of establishing a comprehensive framework for strategic collaboration between the companies, South Korea’s new mobile network operator.

Stage X is currently paving the way to provide 5G services in the Korean market using spectrum in the 28 GHz band.

The agreement, which focuses on technological collaboration and business synergies between the three companies, includes the sharing of industry knowledge and expertise from Rakuten Mobile, as well as the provision of telecom solutions from Rakuten Symphony. Discussions will also encompass various aspects of Stage X’s upcoming projects ranging from business operations to technical areas as well as cooperation considering expansion to mid-band frequency and the development of a 6G-based national network.

Sangwon Seo, CEO of Stage X, said: “Rakuten Mobile and Stage X are the latest mobile network operators representing their respective countries, and together with Rakuten Symphony we wish to continue broad cooperation. Rakuten Mobile built and deployed the world’s first fully virtualized, cloud-native mobile network with a modern infrastructure that ensures stable telecommunication services as the newest mobile network operator in Japan. As Stage X builds out its infrastructure to provide 5G services in the 28 GHz spectrum, we look forward to working with Rakuten and learning from their experience across a wide range of areas.”

Stage X, which has been awarded spectrum that will enable it to be Korea’s fourth mobile carrier, plans to launch nationwide mobile network services in the first half of 2025, Korean press reported.

Seo previously said that the Korean carrier will be investing 612.8 billion won ($462 million) to deploy its 28 GHz 5G network across South Korea. The telco plans to build 6,000 base stations, which is the mandated installation standard for the 28 GHz frequency network.

The executive also noted that Stage X also aims to virtualize the entire core network to secure cost-effectiveness. The newcomer operator added that it will actively use artificial intelligence (AI) technology in network quality management and service operation with the aim of reducing operating costs.

The executive also said Stage X will provide services via Wi-Fi with the 28 GHz frequency. It plans to build 28 GHz-based Wi-Fi in densely populated facilities, including concert halls, hospitals, schools and airports.

Stage X is a consortium that is integrated by Stage Five, a communications affiliate of tech giant Kakao Corp. and other unidentified companies. The new operator will be the only service provider in the 28 GHz band during an initial three-year period in order to be able to secure its market position, according to previous reports.

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