One of the most important novelties of MWC 2023 has come from Telefónica, which together with the GSMA and a group of operators has announced Open Gateway, an initiative with which the operators want to offer more developer tools for the use of their networks and infrastructures.
The main idea behind Open Gateway is to share and federate APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) open and standardized with the aim of offering interoperable access to operator networks for developers.
In a few words, offer added value to developers on the networks of the operators and thus monetize that market share which until now was especially difficult to take advantage of from the developers’ side.
Standardized and interoperable APIs across the industry
It is a joint initiative of the GSMA together with twenty other operators, including Telefónica, Aerica Movil, AT&T, Axiata, Bharti Airtel, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, e& Group, KDDI, KT, Liberty Global, MTN, Orange, Singtel , Swisscom, STC, Telenor, Telstra, TIM, Verizon and Vodafone. And its main partners are Microsoft (with Azure) and Amazon with AWS, which will be the first cloud providers that, hand in hand with the operators, will provide access to the APIs for developers.
For Telefónica and all the operators It is an important milestone that they had been looking for a long time. A way to monetize the networks, but offering added value to developers and companies that want to explore this market. In fact, in the opening speech at MWC 2023, the president of Telefónica, Álvarez-Pallete, pointed out the importance that the launch of Open Gateway will have for the future of the operators. And, above all, the business opportunities not only for the operators as a whole, but also for the entire telecommunications, data and network industry:
“This project will create a new world of opportunities for the industry. It will be a catalyst for all those advanced services to develop their potential and reach a critical mass. And it will generate options and bring value to consumers. This is the ambition of the GSMA Open Gateway. Establish a common layer to expose the capabilities of the network. Transform the entire ecosystem for the benefit of all.”
José María Álvarez-Pallete, president of Telefónica.
Open Gateway: new business opportunities and a way to monetize networks
Open Gateway is not only a way to make better use of network infrastructure by the industry as a whole telcoIt is also a way to develop a new business model on the billions invested over the years in new network technologies, but which have barely had a monetizable use beyond traditional uses.
In addition, this initiative is a way to avoid one of the biggest fears of the operators: become a mere commodity that only provides access to the network. A basic service for a market that is increasingly competitive and whose margins are lower. And that, with the rise of OTTs as service providers on their networks, they have barely had a way to offer added value and generate a return on the large investments that the operators have been developing in new technologies and new deployment of networks.
In this way, the operators seek that developers and OTTs that have built their businesses on the networks have better tools and, in turn, that the operators can also take part of that business by offering new opportunities.
Open Gateway promises many business opportunities, but at the moment it also brings with it many unknowns. And above all doubts about whether those who take advantage of the networks will use it. The initial release is expected to go live with API specifications for eight services: SIM (and eSIM) swapping, 2FA verification, number verification, carrier payment and billing, verified device location, edge site selection and routing , device status (to check if it is connected or not), etc. although more APIs will be added this year.
The operators hope that with this set of tools developers can build new business opportunities on their networks in the fastest growing marketsas fintechidentity, anti-fraud, smart mobility, gaming, Web3, metaverse, etc.