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NTT DOCOMO Selects AWS to Deploy Nationwide 5G Open Radio Access Network

Japan’s leading mobile operator collaborates with AWS to drive end to end resiliency, flexibility, and energy efficiency of 5G network



Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced on Feb 26 that NTT DOCOMO, INC. (DOCOMO), Japan’s leading mobile operator with more than 89 million subscribers, has selected AWS to commercially deploy its nationwide 5G Open Radio Access Network (RAN) in Japan. Open RAN, an approach aimed at transforming the radio access network, connects devices to the network via radio connections into an open, virtualized, and fully interoperable mobile network. AWS also joined DOCOMO’s OREX initiative to promote the mobile industry’s Open RAN efforts globally.


Driving the future of connectivity


Mobile communication traffic in Japan has increased 15.4 times over the past 10 years thanks to a growing digital economy driven by mobile and cloud technology. As advanced technologies such as generative artificial intelligence (AI) are adopted, operators need to reduce the cost of deploying 5G network while maintaining the quality and reliability of mobile services that are essential to consumers and businesses.


DOCOMO will use AWS to deploy Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service Anywhere (Amazon EKS Anywhere), a container management software, at its 5G Open RAN to simplify network operation with automated cluster management tools, enabling the operator to easily run and optimize its 5G Open RAN. Amazon EKS Anywhere will also allow easier integration with other AWS services in AWS Regions, as operators drive end-to-end cloud-based network transformation from 5G Core network (5G Core) to Operational Support System (OSS) and Business Support System (BSS).


Started development of a resilient, flexible, and energy-efficient 5G Core on AWS


AWS is supporting DOCOMO in developing its 5G Core on AWS that is running in a hybrid cloud environment. Climate change drives an increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters across the globe, which can overwhelm telco networks with congestion and network failure. In response, DOCOMO started a series of proofs-of-concept (PoCs) in 2022 using AWS Graviton Processors and Amazon EKS to run its cloud-native 5G Core software in a hybrid cloud environment to prevent the impact from catastrophic events such as floods or typhoons. Within a year, the mobile operator showed a reduced power consumption for 5G Core by an average of 72% using its lab environment, and created a high-level carrier-grade redundancy design, enabling seamless switching between DOCOMO's on-premises network function virtualization (NFV) infrastructure and the AWS cloud in the event of more capacity needs, failures and natural disasters.


Last year, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband network from Amazon announced a strategic collaboration with Japanese companies including DOCOMO, to provide connectivity in rural parts of Japan and in disaster-hit areas by linking Kuiper connectivity service back to its network to recover mobile communication service quickly.


“Our philosophy at NTT DOCOMO is to prioritize our customers and satisfy them with personalized communications solutions and unparalleled customer support. We’re also addressing social issues like climate neutrality and disaster preparedness. We believe that the collaboration with AWS and Project Kuiper will accelerate innovation and deliver more resilient, flexible, and power-efficient networks for our customers,” says Hozumi Tamura, Senior Executive Vice President, Head of Telecommunication Business of NTT DOCOMO. “Having AWS participate in our OREX initiative will enable us to lead the global expansion of the Open RAN ecosystem.”


“AWS has been working with communication service providers for several years to develop solutions in advanced networking, silicon innovation, and edge services for 5G technology. Our goal is to continue to enable truly cloud-native, sustainable and AI-driven 5G networks in AWS Regions and at the edge,” said Kathrin Renz, vice president of AWS Industries. “We are excited about our journey with NTT DOCOMO to deliver 5G Core and Open RAN with new levels of resiliency, energy efficiency, and customer experiences.”


AWS is committed to supporting Japan’s digital transformation ambition by helping Japanese customers modernize IT and innovate securely at pace, driving sustainable economic growth. In January 2024, AWS announced its plan to invest 2.26 trillion yen into its existing cloud infrastructure in Tokyo and Osaka by 2027 to meet growing customer demand for cloud services in Japan.

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