Thursday, February 29, 2024

GSMA’s Open Gateway adopted by over 40 mobile operator networks

One year after it was unveiled at MWC 2023, the GSMA’s Open Gateway Initiative has now been adopted by over 40 mobile operator networks, unlocking the potential of 5G networks and commercialising network APIs through the GSMA Open Gateway initiative.

 GSMA Open Gateway 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 partnership with TM Forum.

A total of 47 mobile operator groups, representing 239 mobile networks and 65% 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 today 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.”

 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 productizing more APIs and monetizing 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 standardization 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.”



Marvell Open Sources OCTEON 10 ML/AI Accelerator Software

Marvell is open sourcing software for building machine learning models that can be executed on OCTEON 10 processors, which are widely deployed in base stations around the world. The move paves the way for OEMs and operators, such as Nokia and Vodafone, to develop and implement ML/AI models using the network infrastructure.

Some highlights

  • The OCTEON 10 processor family is purpose-built to serve as the primary processing unit in RUs, DUs, enterprise networking equipment, or as a data processing unit in clouds and AI clusters. It incorporates digital signal processors, Arm Neoverse CPUs, and optimized hardware accelerators like the inference processor and inline crypto engine.
  • Using open-source ML frameworks such as TensorFlow, PyTorch, and ONNX, developers can create their own models for optimizing the performance of the RAN Distributed Unit (DU) and Radio Unit (RU). Via standard APIs, these models can be implemented on the OCTEON 10 ML/AI accelerator, providing OEMs and service providers with enhanced ability to optimize massive MIMO beam selection, improve channel estimation, identify security risks or address other tasks to improve network performance, efficiency and operating economics.
  • The OCTEON 10 ML/AI accelerator features a scalable tiled architecture and best-in-class performance-power ratio at 8 trillion operations per second per watt. The new API access follows the same principles used in DPDK’s Ethernet Device framework and Crypto framework already supported by OCTEON 10 processors.

“We are proud to be the first vendor to incorporate AI/ML into our ReefShark SoCs and AirScale portfolio. This technology allows us to differentiate our solutions and offer the best spectral efficiency and cell edge performance in the industry. We are now at the forefront of bringing machine learning technology to our customers and exploring its enormous possibilities ahead of the 6G era,” said Mark Atkinson, Head of RAN at Nokia.

“The ever-increasing complexity of RAN makes AI/ML the ideal technology to efficiently solve challenges around radio resource configuration, allocation, and optimization. Vodafone is a pioneer in this field, having deployed multiple uses of AI/ML in our network since 2017,” said Francisco Martin (Paco), Head of Open RAN at Vodafone. 

“Our commitment to open-source integration is evident in the vast Marvell contribution to DPDK, OPI, and similar initiatives,” said Will Chu, senior vice president and general manager, Custom, Compute and Storage Group at Marvell. “Giving developers access to processor modules will enable industry innovations that build smarter, faster, and more secure RAN networks.”


Dell’Oro: Optical Transport Market Declined 6% in 4Q 2023

The Optical Transport market declined 6 percent year-over-year in fourth quarter 2023 due to reduced demand in North America, Europe, and Japan, according to a new report from Dell’Oro Group.

“Excess inventory, worsening macroeconomic conditions, and higher interest rates were the main reasons cited for the decline in these regions,” said Jimmy Yu, Vice President at Dell’Oro Group. “North American service providers accumulated excess inventory after splurging on equipment in 2021 and 2022. We estimate that North American optical equipment sales increased nearly 30 percent in that period. Hence, a decline in 2023 was expected to occur. Inventory build-up was less of an issue in Europe and Japan. The economy, however, was on unstable ground for the past year. Europe's GDP is expected to be up only half a percent in 2023 and Japan has technically entered an economic recession in the second half of 2023,” added Yu.

Additional highlights from the 4Q 2023 Optical Transport Quarterly Report:

* The worldwide Optical Transport market grew 2 percent in full year 2023, reaching nearly $16 billion.

* Spending on optical equipment significantly improved in China after two years of decline as service providers increased investments in their optical backbone.

* The vendors that gained the most market share in 2023 were Ciena, FiberHome, and Nokia. The vendors that lost the most market share in the year were Cisco and Fujitsu.

Vonage opens Network Registry for APIs

A new Vonage Network Registry has been launched with the aim of simplifying developer access to network APIs. The service will also facilitate CSPs in effectively scaling the consumption of network APIs by standardising the approval process and granting access to network  providers' APIs for Application Service Providers (ASPs). 

Vonage is working with multiple operators in Europe and North America including Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, Vodafone, AT&T and Verizon to unlock programmable network  capabilities for developers, and with KDDI in Japan, who is reselling its communications APIs. Vonage also announced a collaboration with AWS to leverage communications and network APIs to accelerate the availability of new solutions to developers, along with a new Fraud Protection Solution to be made available in the AWS Marketplace.


Microsoft preview Azure Programmable Connectivity via APIs

 Microsoft's Azure Programmable Connectivity (APC) has launched in public preview at Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2024, featuring APIs like number verification and SIM swap among other capabilities. APC, building a robust partner ecosystem with global operators such as AT&T, BT, Claro, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, MEO, Rogers, Singtel, T-Mobile, Telef├│nica, TIM Brasil, Verizon, and Vivo, aims to extend its reach further. 

Enterprises like Banco Ita├║ Unibanco and NAGRA are adopting APC for developing network-aware applications, enhancing security, and combating fraud. 

Microsoft is also working with network technology partners and network programmability aggregators, such as Ericsson and Vonage, as well as Nokia and Nokia’s Network as Code platform, making concrete progress accelerating the ecosystem on network programmability.

AWS and Liberty Global announce NaaS framework

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Liberty Global have announced a collaboration to create a Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) framework that enables developers to use and access Liberty Global’s fixed and mobile networks as a platform for innovation. The two companies will focus on sectors, such as home productivity, logistics/transportation, remote care/assistance to improve people’s lives across Liberty Global markets. 

Services will be based on GSMA Open Gateway standards and use CAMARA standard APIs to ensure worldwide standardization and wider adoption.


Xerox moves to Verizon’s NaaS

Xerox is adopting Verizon’s Network as a Service (NaaS) Solutions framework to accelerate the organization’s Reinvention and operating model evolution. 

This will enable Xerox to dynamically scale network resources. 

Delivering on the Zero Trust journey using Advanced SASE, Verizon Business will provide Xerox with internet connectivity and a full suite of managed services via NaaS Solutions, including Wide Area Network, Local Area Network and Wireless Local Area Network. Additional services include; Verizon Operational and Financial Governance, Contact Center Management, Network and Security Consulting Services and Verizon Maintenance across the Network utilizing Verizon Care.

“This collaboration with Xerox underscores our commitment to enabling our customers to thrive in the digital age,” said Massimo Peselli, CRO, Verizon Business. “Verizon’s intelligent network framework is designed to empower enterprises to embrace the future of network services, providing unparalleled flexibility and scalability. We look forward to supporting Xerox as they transform their IT infrastructure.”

“As part of our Reinvention, Xerox is committed to simplifying our systems to drive enterprise-wide efficiency and scalability to best serve our clients,” said Louie Pastor, Chief Transformation & Administrative Officer, Xerox. “Expanding our partnership and deploying Verizon’s NaaS as our global network infrastructure is a natural next step to staying at the forefront of innovation, while helping us drive efficiencies across all the geographies we serve.”

Indonesia’s Telkomsel Looks to Google Cloud for Gen AI

 Telkomsel announced a strategic collaboration with Google Cloud to integrate enterprise-grade generative AI into its operations and core product offerings for consumers and businesses. 

Telkomsel is turning to gen AI to assist its network planning, product development, and sales teams to transform network operations and strengthen digital inclusion in Indonesia. The company is embarking on a strategic initiative with Google Cloud to build a gen AI-powered solution that analyzes data from cell towers and fiber optic systems to deliver recommendations in natural language. This solution can then be used to more quickly and easily identify locations with connectivity gaps for future network infrastructure expansion and design fixed mobile convergence (FMC) offerings tailored for different customer segments. 

In addition, using Google Cloud’s Vertex AI platform and foundation models, Telkomsel has built a gen AI-powered conversational agent that is being integrated into its MOANA (Mobile Office Application and Automation) app used by more than 6,000 employees.

MOANA serves as a central hub for employees to complete HR-related tasks like requesting leave, accessing personal records, and reviewing payslips. It is also the source for company updates, policies, and resources. The conversational agent will offer employees instant support and on-demand guidance—with embedded links to relevant information sources, helping workers reclaim significant time spent deciphering complex HR policies or waiting for HR assistance. 

Telkomsel already uses Google’s AI-powered advertising tools like Performance Max, aims to transform employee and customer interactions, boosting satisfaction across the board and setting up the company for its next phase of business growth.

Corning debuts RAN Compute Platform with Dell, Intel

Corning introduced a new Radio Access Network (RAN) Compute Platform, developed in collaboration with Dell Technologies and Intel to speed the deployment of 5G networks inside high-density buildings.

The platform is the hardware and software hub of Corning’s recently launched Everon 5G ERAN solution designed for Radio Access Networks, the radio-enabled portion of an enterprise cellular network that connects users to the Internet. It features the 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor, Intel FlexRAN reference software, and Dell PowerEdge servers.

“Consumers are looking for reliable access no matter where they go. Enterprise network operators are looking for flexibility in design, predictability in deployment, and scalability for future needs – all vital attributes as 5G enterprise networks move forward,” said Shirish Nagaraj, chief technology officer, Wireless, Corning Optical Communications. “Through our longstanding collaboration with Dell and Intel, Corning is delivering another life-changing innovation.”

The platform’s Open RAN architecture accommodates components from multiple vendors. It also uses Virtualized RAN technology, offering hardware flexibility through cloud-based data processing.

Eurofiber and Nokia team on Private 5G

 Eurofiber and Nokia announced a partnership for supplying Mobile Private Network (Private 5G).

Eurofiber has a 70,500 km fiberoptic network in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany. This network is expanded by 50 km per week on average. Eurofiber companies operate ten datacenters in the Netherlands and France. 

The new private mobile service aligns seamlessly with the solutions that Eurofiber currently offers over its fixed fiberoptic network. As a result, implementation and market introduction can be started relatively quick. Eurofiber’s new Mobile Private Network service is expected to be available in mid-2024. 

Stephan Litjens, VP of Nokia Enterprise Campus Edge Solutions, said: “The importance of robust Private Networks in supporting operational and business infrastructure cannot be understated. Our collaboration with Eurofiber will enhance private network offering in the region, build upon existing infrastructure and enabling future digitalisation. We are extremely excited to embark on this journey with Eurofiber and look forward to helping them as they continue to simplify the complexity in current private 5G network systems.”

Paul Naastepad, Managing Director at Eurofiber Netherlands: “Eurofiber embraces a vision of achieving success through close collaboration. Accordingly, I am delighted to have Nokia partnering with us for MPN as well. This enables us to offer a significant extension of our fiber and cloud connectivity for business customers handling operations-critical traffic. MPN offers an additional option for even more flexibility and security in transporting data within the company, along with seamless connectivity to the outside world or into the cloud. I look forward to a fruitful collaboration!”