Operators should open network APIs to OTT service providers

Operators should open network APIs to OTT service providers

Summary: By doing so, content providers can optimize offerings according to bandwidth so that customers can enjoy better user experience, which will benefit both parties, suggests Ericsson exec.

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SINGAPORE--Both operators and third-party content providers stand to gain should the former open up their network API (application programming interface) to the latter, so that services can be delivered to end-users according to their bandwidth requirements. This, in turn, will improve user experience, say Ericsson executives.

In a media briefing here on Thursday, Tan Kok-Liang, vice president of engagement practices for Singapore and Brunei at Ericsson, said mobile operators and content providers both play a role in making the network efficient.

To better optimize existing network capabilities, he suggested operators can make their network APIs available for content providers to tap on. This would allow these companies to tweak their applications or services for better delivery and performances, he said.

Elaborating further, Calvin Yeo, senior consultant at Ericsson, who also attended the briefing session, said the first step for operators to develop an "application-aware network" is to implement an end-to-end policy control. This tool would allow the operator to prioritize traffic for partnering content providers to better deliver their product to end-users, and to allocate more bandwidth and better performance assurance to premium service users, he explained.

Indonesian operator Telkomsel is one such example, he noted. It is currently using the Mobile Cloud Accelerator tool provided by Ericsson and Akamai to monetize over-the-top (OTT) traffic from premium content providers such as Thomson Reuters.

Yeo went on to warn operators against forcibly charging OTT providers, as this strategy will not bode well.

"Operators that make old statements about having content providers pay for infrastructure will not go down well with the big Internet boys," he said, referring to recent reports of how South Korean Internet service providers looking to charge content providers according to the bandwidth they take up.

Collaborating to stay on top
When asked if the Swedish telecoms equipment maker had any comments on Huawei's rise in the telecoms space, Yeo sidestepped the question. Instead, he highlighted how the company has been collaborating "within and outside" the telco industry with partners such as financial institution Western Union, Akamai, and automakers Ford and Volvo.

"It's the collaboration that will help us in the next wave because it's not about a vendor or company going [to market] alone. I think these collaborations will make a difference in how we address the market going forward," he said.

Yeo also pointed out that Ericsson has been acquiring companies, such as Wi-Fi company BelAir, to help boost its product portfolio. The company had also increased its market share by 6 percentage points to 38 percent in 2011, he added.

His comments come after Reuters had earlier predicted China-based Huawei would overtake the Swedish company as top telecoms equipment maker in 2012.

Topics: Networking, Apps, Cloud, Emerging Tech, Mobility, Software

Liau Yun Qing

About Liau Yun Qing

The only journalist in the team without a Western name, Yun Qing hails from the mountainy Malaysian state, Sabah. She currently covers the hardware and networking beats, as well as everything else that falls into her lap, at ZDNet Asia. Her RSS feed includes tech news sites and most of the Cheezburger network. She is also a cheapskate masquerading as a group-buying addict.

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