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Japan's Rakuten to use Cisco routing tech for 5G, IoT services

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Rakuten is pictured at the headquarters of Rakuten in Tokyo
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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Rakuten Mobile said on Friday that it plans to use new routing technologies from network gear maker Cisco to expand its capacity to support business customers with 5G and so-called Internet of Things (IoT) services.

The Japanese firm has become the first mobile operator to deploy a network based on Open Radio Access Network (RAN) technology that uses software to run network functions on the cloud, reducing the requirement for physical equipment.

Rakuten, with 4 million subscribers, will use the new technology to make the entire network more automated to deploy services faster, reduce latency and lower power consumption.

"We are going big into enterprise now, in a very elegant cost-efficient manner, without having to incur cost addition," Chief Technology Officer Tareq Amin told analysts on a telephone call.

Companies such as Dish Network, which is racing to build a 5G network in the United States by 2023, are also building networks based on Open RAN as it promises to radically cut costs.

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee, European Technology & Telecoms Correspondent, based in Stockholm; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)