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5G hares risk using immature solutions, and losing to far-sighted tortoises

When a new generation of technology is over the horizon, it’s easy to assume that the newest operators with the most disruptive visions will be the first to cash in. But sometimes the legend of the tortoise and the hare comes into play. China Mobile was supposed to the first major operator to move to 5G New Radio Standalone (NR SA) with a full 5G core, while Rakuten was hot favorite to be the first to deploy a fully cloud-native end-to-end network (initially for 4G). But the Chinese leader pulled back from the plan to roll out NR SA from day one and now has no firm timeline to deploy its cloud-native core at scale, amid many business case challenges…

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