We caught up with the GSMA who today launched the Open Gateway Initiative at MWC, which is supposed to offer a unified platform for network API developers.

Andrew Wooden

February 27, 2023

3 Min Read
CMO at the GSMA Lara Dewar
Lara Dewar, CMO at the GSMA

We caught up with the GSMA after it launched the Open Gateway Initiative at MWC 2023, which is supposed to offer a unified platform for network API developers.

The Open Gateway Initiative aims to give developers access to a range of universal network application programming interfaces (APIs). The idea is providing a single, standardised point of entry into a network should lower the barrier to creating more compelling mobile experiences.

CMO at the GSMA Lara Dewar (pictured) explained: “The GSMA have used this as an opportunity for us to work in a unified manner with the entire ecosystem. So if you think back to when we began negotiating and determining roaming so that mobile phones could travel across borders, this is similarly an opportunity for us to say, how do we want to work in this new framework that becomes web 3.0, and how do we get greater cooperation there so that at the end of the day the consumer benefits by technology that’s more efficient, improves lives, etc.”

There seems to be an acceleration in the amount of chatter around APIs in general, when asked what was the driver in launching the Open Gateway Initiative now, Dewar told us:

“A recognition that in coming together we can make APIs and our positioning within that new ecosystem, again, a more open space for everybody to play. So it’s come about for a couple of reasons. I think we have a chair of our board in Telefonica who have invested in this deeply. So he brings all of that to the board. And we know that we’ve got other members at the table who of course are navigating new space for the first time and trying to work out how we ensure that we are working better together in a space that’s continued to shift and change. How consumers access what they want out of it at the end of the day, all of those things.”

Ericsson has famously gone in hard on APIs with the purchase of Vonage and seems to be ramping up efforts in that area, while Nokia during its rebrand announcement on Sunday also made overtures as to the importance of them to future networks. When asked if these different platforms and approaches could clash, or whether the plan is to bring firms like Ericsson into the fold, Dewar told us:

“Ericsson are not part of the MOU group at the moment. But we’ve enjoyed a long history of working together with Ericsson and they work of course with all of our operator members. So I think there’s a real appetite here to be working together so that those standards become similar enough that for developers who are working on these APIs, getting them to market is quick and easy and not a cumbersome model where you have to know the standards for this one, and then the standards for that one. So we will be inviting the industry into that world of standards for that purpose.

“It behoves us to create standards in the same way we did with roaming. So that’s the whole intention –  we think especially in a very fractured world in so many ways, that standards mean that we remove the barriers to entry for people, consumers, developers, etc. And again, everyone can play.”

Ericsson might not be part of the MoU group, which consists entirely of operators, but it certainly featured prominently in the GSMA press release. So is Ericsson in or out? One of the emerging themes of this year’s MWC is a gold rush for this API action which, until now, it seemed Ericsson had a head start on. The GSMA is better at launching initiatives then it is at completing them and a real test of this one will be getting the vendor community to all sing from the same hymn sheet. Here’s a vid.


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About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins Telecoms.com on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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