Veon, the parent company of Kyivstar, is partnering with Rakuten Symphony for a comprehensive reconstruction of its Ukrainian infrastructure. This move is meant to support the ‘We Build Ukraine’ initiative led by the Ukrainian State Agency for Reconstruction and Development of Infrastructure. Subsequently, Veon and Rakuten Symphony have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to roll out 5G networks based on Open RAN, which Veon believes will be the backbone for new digital services.
Previously this year, Veon declared a commitment to invest $600 million over a three-year period into its Ukrainian arm, with a significant portion earmarked for fibre and 4G. It aims to reach 98% of the population with the latter. Veon affirmed this investment not only establishes a solid foundation for 5G deployment but also sees Open RAN as a “compelling choice” for the 5G network framework.
Veon is confident in selecting Rakuten Symphony for the project, given the company’s active support of Open RAN and its proven expertise in its commercial implementation. The collaboration between Veon and Rakuten builds on the shared focus of offering digital ecosystems. This is demonstrated by Kyivstar’s provision of a collection of online services including health, education, and entertainment, and Rakuten’s popular messaging application, Rakuten Viber.
“Veon and Rakuten share a similar vision: we are both highly customer-focused, digital experience-oriented companies which redefine communications in our respective markets,” said Veon CEO Kaan Terzioğlu. “We are very excited to partner with Rakuten to explore the opportunities in Veon’s markets, with a combined population of 510 million.”
In the midst of Ukraine’s recovery from the onslaught brought about by the Russian incursion, Veon and Rakuten are aiming for “robust and future-proof telecommunications infrastructure.” Veon’s commitment in this regard was demonstrated when, despite 35% of its mobile sites being completely destroyed, Kyivstar ensured redundancy in the core network for continued service provision to operational sites. The company has since reestablished connections in over 800 cities and villages, restoring almost 90% of the damaged infrastructure.
This is more than just rebuilding; Wednesday’s announcement is a testament to Kyivstar’s determination to keep up with its global counterparts despite the ongoing war.
“We look forward to bringing our technological expertise from Open RAN telecom solutions and a broad range of digital services including Rakuten Viber to support Ukraine in transforming its digital landscape, as well as exploring further joint opportunities in other Veon markets,” stated Mickey Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten Group and chairman of Rakuten Symphony.