US mobile operators carry out first cross-carrier API tests compatible with 5G services

The three US largest mobile operators – AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon – report independent tests of the first cross-carrier, interoperable Application Programming Interface (API) in North America, as part of a GSMA initiative to unlock the full potential of 5G connectivity, says the GSMA press release.

Through the GSMA Open Gateway program, which is focused on helping businesses bring new 5G services and use cases to market faster, the three operators worked in partnership with developers at American drone maker Inspired Flight Technologies (IFT). Verizon also leveraged its membership with technology foundation Mitre Engenuity to test a device status API. Once the API is commercially deployed, it will enable connected devices, such as drones, to maintain connectivity mid-flight and allow the drones to be re-contacted if any technical issues are encountered.

“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,” said Adam Bilmes, Senior Director of Business Development at Inspired Flight Technologies.

The GSMA Open Gateway initiative represents a shift in the way the global telecom industry designs and brings to market new mobile apps, as well as immersive and digital services. By creating a common and open framework between mobile operators, it becomes easier for developers and cloud providers to build safer apps and services that seamlessly communicate with each other. This is done through single, programmable access points known as APIs which are universal among mobile networks. From Argentina to China, the USA to Australia, 42 mobile operator groups worldwide, representing 237 mobile networks and 65% of global connections are now part of this initiative to make sure APIs can integrate seamlessly with participating networks around the world.

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. The industry’s commitment to developing innovative APIs, such as the Device Status API, opens opportunities for developers to deliver new products across networks to support public safety, manufacturing, consumer gaming and more.

Henry Calvert, Head of Networks at the GSMA, said: “This is a fantastic step forward by operators in the United States. In the same way open standards and interoperability helped harmonize 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.”

“Open and reusable network APIs are important for the progression of 5G and future wireless technologies,” said Yigal Elbaz, Senior VP – Network CTO at AT&T. “This is a great step forward in realizing the value of APIs. We are excited to continue this collaboration with the GSMA and other operators so we can create new connectivity experiences and value for customers.”

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