GSMA Open Gateway unlocks mobile network capabilities for developers

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A new collaboration between the world’s leading mobile operators will accelerate innovation across industries from finance and retail to transportation, healthcare, and beyond. The GSMA Open Gateway initiative provides developers simplified access to core network capabilities via open application programming interfaces (APIs).

Initially focused on security, new APIs for number verification and SIM swap detection are being implemented by operator groups across 42 countries so far. These span multiple regions including Spain, Indonesia, South Africa and the United States. 

Javier Pascual Izquierdo, B2B Marketing, Presales and Deployment Director at Telefonica de España, said: “Open Gateway is a major innovation in the telecommunications sector, that enables the transformation of communication networks into programmable digital platforms through global and standardised APIs.”

By detecting SIM card changes associated with a phone number, SIM swap detection can help prevent fraudulent account takeovers. Number verification enhances mobile-based authentication by providing a seamless, consistent identity confirmation experience compared to SMS OTP which can fail to deliver properly.

These capabilities created by Orange, Telefonica, and Vodafone will address rising cyber fraud in Spain which jumped over 70% between 2019 and 2022.

Juan Reyero Montes, Enterprise Marketing Director at Orange Spain, commented: “The launch of these two new APIs onto the Spanish market – addressing key use cases around fraud – aptly demonstrates the value that Orange and our partner operators can bring, utilising our network capabilities to improve the security of transactions whilst enhancing the user experience for customers through seamless authentication.”

In Indonesia, similar network API access is being opened up by Telkomsel, Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison, XL Axiata, and Smartfren. They highlight Open Gateway’s potential to nurture sustainable digital ecosystem growth and support emerging technologies.

Wong Soon Nam, Director of Planning and Transformation of Telkomsel, said: “This initiative among Indonesian telecommunications companies aims to establish interconnections among operators, potentially propelling advancements in the telecommunications industry and delivering enhanced value to our customers through digital platforms and services, thus contributing to the nation’s progress.”

Growing opportunities across sectors

Worldwide, over 30 network capabilities are now in testing or production by operators involved with Open Gateway. This expands beyond security into areas like 5G connectivity, device detection and subscriber verification.

By accessing mobile network information via API, US-based Inspired Flight Technologies has shown how drones can leverage connectivity data to optimise flight operation and management.

Adam Bilmes, Senior Director of Business Development at Inspired Flight Technologies, explained: “The ability to access this type of network information via an API will allow us to better support drone flight and management, to pinpoint where to send relief immediately after weather events and/or to fly over communications, and other assets to expedite recovery efforts.”

In banking and financial services, South Africa is leaning into SIM Swap and Number Verification to combat a spike in fraud exceeding $44 million last year.

Angela Wamola, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa of the GSMA, said: “Banking fraud is a growing threat in South Africa, and mobile network operators are strategically placed to work with developers to help banks, financial institutions and commerce providers mitigate the risk and protect their customers.

“The availability of the two APIs to South African operators will equip enterprises with additional means of verifying that their customers are who they say they are and protecting them against identity theft, all while maintaining the user experience—and the GSMA’s Open Gateway provides developers with a single integration that works across operators.”

Innovation through collaboration

Central to Open Gateway’s potential is its foundation of common standards and simplifying integrations. 

Karri Kuoppamaki, SVP of Advanced and Emerging Technologies at T-Mobile, explained: “Wireless networks, or more accurately for this context ‘programmable networks’, are the next great frontier for developers.

“The speed, low latency, and enhanced capacity of today’s networks create fresh clay to empower developers and increase operator value, and we’re just getting started.”

By providing universal network access, innovation can be accelerated across a global developer community. Over 237 participating operator networks creating Open Gateway APIs are helping to foster an unprecedented level of collaboration.

Srini Kalapala, SVP of Technology and Product Development at Verizon, commented: “Network APIs introduce cutting-edge network capabilities to enterprises and developers globally, showcasing the massive potential of 5G technology, accelerating digital transformation within enterprises, and driving innovation, growth and profitability.

“By collaborating across the industry to adhere to open standards for APIs, the adoption of these critical tools will be greatly accelerated.”

As 5G rolls out and new mobile technologies emerge, Open Gateway and its expanding catalogue of robust, proven API capabilities aims to drive digital transformation across business and society.

Henry Calvert, Head of Networks at the GSMA, said: “In the same way open standards and interoperability helped harmonise mobile voice services and roaming across the world 35 years ago, GSMA Open Gateway can unlock the door to a whole array of new 5G services and innovations.

“These include new APIs to support autonomous vehicles and fleet management for logistics and deliveries; to increase productivity and provide quality on demand network services for drones, robotics, extended reality, and immersive online gaming.”

(Photo by Harpal Singh on Unsplash)

See also: Toshiba and Orange demo quantum-secure fibre data transmission

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