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MWC 2023: GSMA launches open network API initiative

Looking to support its industry in what it believes will be a new era of digital services and mobile apps, mobile trade association announces initiative designed to provide universal access to operator networks for developers to boost quality of experience

Backed by the support of 21 leading network operators, global mobile trade association the GSMA has unveiled the Open Gateway framework, providing a mechanism through which the service providers are opening up access to their telco and network capabilities to developers, cloud service providers and enterprises through interoperable network application programming interfaces (APIs) based on open industry standards.

The GSMA and the project’s partners regard quality of service APIs as a key feature of future networks to offer users bandwidth-intensive, low-latency, real-time services.

The APIs are designed to provide federated access to global network capabilities with the intended result of simplifying service delivery and enabling faster time to market.

The GSMA sees the move as representing a paradigm shift in the way the telecoms industry designs and delivers services in an API-economy world.

GSMA Open Gateway is designed to help developers and cloud providers enhance and deploy services more quickly via single points of access to operator networks. This is achieved via common, northbound-service APIs that expose mobile operators’ network capabilities in a consistent, interoperable and federated framework.

The APIs are defined, developed and published in Camara, the open source project for developers to access enhanced network capabilities, driven by the Linux Foundation in collaboration with the GSMA. Working in Camara, APIs between telcos and developers can be delivered quickly, using developer-friendly tools and software code.

The first demonstrations of GSMA Open Gateway have just been revealed at MWC Barcelona 2023, and the initiative launched with eight universal network APIs, including SIM Swap, quality on demand, device status (connected or roaming status), number verify, edge site selection and routing, number verification (SMS 2FA), carrier billing, and checkout and device location (verify location).

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The initiative plans to launch further APIs throughout 2023. Examples of services supported by the introduction of GSMA Open Gateway include edge site selection and routing to support autonomous vehicles, and verify location for fleet management and incident reporting; SIM swap to combat financial crime and QoD for drones, robotics, extended reality and immersive online gaming.

“By applying the concept of interconnection for operators to the API economy, developers can utilise technology once, for services such as identity, cyber security or billing, but with the potential to be integrated with every operator worldwide. This is a profound change in the way we design and deliver services,” said GSMA director general Mats Granryd.

“In 1987, representatives from 13 countries worked together to harmonise mobile voice services and enable roaming, and I believe that 35 years on, GSMA Open Gateway has the potential to deliver a similar impact for digital services.”

“Having open network APIs from different operators which are harmonised and accessible from one place removes friction for software developers and unleashes innovation and creativity for many use cases,” added Laurent Leboucher, Orange Group chief technology officer and senior vice-president of Orange Innovation Networks. “Working with open network APIs creates a virtuous circle of continual feedback, resulting in the constant improvement and development of new innovative features. The benefits are numerous, with a wide range of APIs enabling developers to co-innovate and develop their business.”

“In the coming years there will be an explosion of new services that will impact our networks,” said Mark Evans, chief strategy and development officer of Telefónica, which is backing the programme. “To provide the best experience for our customers and offer them innovative services, the best connectivity is not enough. We need to meet this challenge with the involvement of the entire technology ecosystem.”

In the Open Gateway area, comms provider Telefónica has presented an Early Adopter Programme in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Microsoft and Vonage to offer developers exclusive access to a new generation of telco services through open, interoperable APIs in a real environment. Initially available in Spain, it will soon be extended to other countries.

Participants will be able to develop new use cases based on new network and telco services with Microsoft’s Azure Programmable Connectivity, the Vonage Communications Platform and in the marketplaces of AWS and Google Cloud.

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Part of: Mobile World Congress 2023 - Read Computer Weekly's latest coverage

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