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GSMA outlines mobile progress; GSOA partnership

February 27, 2024

The GSMA has outlined the progress the mobile industry, and technology partners, are making in unlocking the full potential of 5G networks and commercialising network APIs through the GSMA Open Gateway initiative.

A year since GSMA Open Gateway was unveiled at MWC 2023, 47 mobile operator groups, representing 239 mobile networks and 65 per cent of connections around the world, have now signed up to the initiative. GSMA Open Gateway is focused on accelerating the growth of digital services and apps, by ensuring they integrate seamlessly with hundreds of participating networks around the world. This is done through single, programmable, access points, which are common among all mobile operators, known as Application Programmable Interfaces (APIs).

Working with technology partners and cloud providers, including AWS, Infobip, Microsoft, Nokia and Vonage, a part of Ericsson, more than 40 mobile operator networks have now made a combined total of 94 APIs commercially available to enterprise developers in 21 markets across Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.

With online fraud and cybercrime being one of the biggest issues facing online commerce, the GSMA, mobile operators and technology partners are first focusing the GSMA Open Gateway initiative on tackling online crime. Recent activities include:

  • Four Sri Lankan operators who have launched three APIs on a single operator platform providing robust authentication to secure customer online transactions;
  • Three Brazilian operators who have launched three APIs to combat fraud;
  • Three Spanish operators who have announced the launch of two anti-fraud APIs, working with online retailers;
  • Four Indonesian operators who launched three APIs to improve online security and customer experience; and
  • Three South African operators who are combatting fraud and digital identity theft in sectors including banking, finance, insurance, and retail through two new APIs.
  • Three German operators who have made two APIs available to help app developers and enterprises tackle online fraud and protect the digital identities of mobile customers.

“It’s been an exciting year for GSMA Open Gateway, and the mobile industry, where we have begun to build a unified ecosystem and unlock the full potential of 5G networks. This has culminated in the birth of a new API era,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA. “Our collective job for 2024 is to nurture and grow this opportunity and provide ubiquitous access to enterprise developers and cloud providers, so they can do what they do best, which is launch game changing new services that can maximise the benefits of 5G networks.”

Focus for 2024

According to research by McKinsey, GSMA Open Gateway and other network API initiatives can unlock significant value for the telecommunications industry, and businesses using 5G networks over the next six years. It’s forecast that, if operators can expose more of their network APIs and innovations to enterprise developer and cloud provider communities, then they can unlock an additional $300 billion market opportunity by 2030.

Having built strong support amongst the global mobile operator industry in 2023, the GSMA Open Gateway initiative is focusing on how it can help members ramp up developer engagement in 2024. This will be achieved through the commercial launch of new services and a focus on three go-to-market commercial channels for open API adoption.

GSMA Open Gateway’s three main go-to-market channels are:

  1. Network Cloud Marketplace e.g. partnering with cloud providers including AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Vonage
  2. Strategic Technology Partners/Resellers e.g. Infobip, Nokia, and Ericsson
  3. Operators Direct to Market through their enterprise and innovation divisions

The industry is now turning its attention to an array of new services and innovations, including Quality-on-Demand APIs to enable safe drone flight, robotics, extended reality and immersive online gaming services over 5G networks. The roadmap includes further development in connectivity for network slicing, cybersecurity and cloud enablement.

Ishwar Parulkar, Chief Technologist for Telecom and Edge Cloud at Amazon Web Services at AWS, said: “The progress of GSMA’s Open Gateway initiative over the past year had been very encouraging. As we get into the next phase of telcos productising more APIs and monetising them through various go-to-market channels, the role of a common, aligned approach across operators, hyperscalers and other channel aggregators that Open Gateway is promoting becomes even more critical.”

Ankur Jain, Vice President, Google Cloud Telco, said: “Google Cloud has engaged with the GSMA Open Gateway initiative since its inception, and we are pleased to see progress towards giving developers simplified access to network capabilities in an open, standardized, and aggregated way. We look forward to working with our CSP partners and developers to bring innovative use cases to market.”

Ross Ortega, Vice President, Product Management, Microsoft Azure for Operators, said: “Microsoft proudly champions the Open Gateway initiative, underscoring our commitment to making network programmability universally accessible to developers of connected applications. We believe that the standardisation of network capabilities and APIs is crucial for ensuring that developers can easily understand and adopt these technologies. Azure Programmable Connectivity is at the forefront of this effort, aligning closely with Open Gateway standards to pave the way for seamless integration and innovation.”

Meanwhile, in a strategic move to boost the telecommunications landscape, GSOA and GSMA have announced a cooperation to foster innovation and seamless TN-NTN integration.

GSOA and GSMA commit to advance the capabilities of global communications by driving innovation, promoting standards, and delivering value to their members and the broader telecommunications industry. By combining the expertise and resources of both associations, they aim to explore new frontiers in technology and leverage synergies between mobile and satellite technologies.

Joint activities will focus on innovative technologies and applications that leverage the strengths of both satellite and mobile networks, such as 5G integration, IoT connectivity, remote sensing, and global coverage solutions, unlocking new opportunities for consumers and enterprises.

The partnership will also include educational programmes, workshops, and events aimed at raising awareness and understanding of the benefits and opportunities presented by convergence of the two technologies. By nurturing a culture of teamwork and knowledge-sharing, the partnership seeks to empower stakeholders and drive adoption of next-generation communication technologies.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with GSMA and their members to advance the integration of terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks. This is fundamental in creating a seamless and ubiquitous communications infrastructure, that will help accelerate digital inclusion and digital transformation, including in areas that are currently unserved or underserved”, said Isabelle Mauro, Director General, GSOA. “As 5G and 6G continue to evolve, this convergence becomes paramount in building a reliable, secure, robust and globally connected world.”

Mats Granryd, Director General at the GSMA, added: “This collaborative agreement marks a significant milestone in the evolution of telecommunications, signalling a shift towards a more interconnected and resilient global network infrastructure. By working together, we can help the communications industry bring innovative solutions to market to connect more people, and more devices, for the benefit of society and industry.”

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