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MWC22: how Rakuten Symphony stole the show and the innovation driver’s seat

March 2022

2019 was the last time we had a full-blown Mobile World Congress (MWC) attended by 110,000 people and marked by the emergence of Rakuten, which threw a lavish party at Camp Nou stadium, home of the highly decorated FCB (Futbol Club Barcelona colloquially known as Barça, and a team that Rakuten sponsors), to announce its big plans aimed at shaking the mobile industry. We all scratched our heads thinking, oh well, Rakuten founder Mikitani-san is one of those bored billionaires who wants to have fun disrupting the mobile industry by throwing a large amount of money at it.

3 years later, at MWC22, which recovered and grew from the mini MWC21 attended by 15,000 people in person with no Rakuten presence, Rakuten Symphony, the carrier communication cloud platform spin-off of Rakuten Mobile, flexed its muscles and dominated the headlines from pre-MWC22 to every single day of MWC22’s announcements and initiatives:

  1. 2/14/22: Symworld launch
  2. 2/14/22: Expansion in Europe
  3. 2/24/22: Partnership with Qualcomm
  4. 2/28/22: Collaboration agreement with AT&T
  5. 2/28/22: Strategic agreement/MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Cisco
  6. 2/28/22: Acquisition of
  7. 3/01/22: Nokia selected as first Symworld partner for cloud native core software
  8. 3/02/22: Former FCC chairman Ajit Pai to join the board
  9. 3/03/22: MoU with MTN Group in Africa

All put together, these developments will have a profound impact on the future of the telecom industry as they cement the building blocks of a global innovative cost-efficient vertically integrated cloud connectivity provider for all (see the August 2021 Perspective: With its Altiostar ownership, Rakuten Group Sets the Beginning of a New CSP Era: the Cost-efficient Vertically Integrated Cloud Connectivity Provider for All). Rakuten Symphony’s mantra is to be bold, select the best of breed of cloud-based network functions and network automation technologies, turn them into apps, build the app platform, make it work, show it works, share and propose it to the whole industry.

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