INTERVIEW: Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, president and CEO of Telefonica (pictured), argued the GSMA Open Gateway API initiative could unlock billions in fresh revenue for operators, delivering an impact not felt since the introduction of roaming almost 40 years ago.

The operator executive and GSMA chair told Mobile World Live the move to open APIs to developers is a no-brainer because it uses elements of 5G and fibre networks which already exist, meaning there is little to no cost involved.

He believes there is a “massive market” for operators willing to take a leap of faith, explaining exposing the capabilities of networks “in a standardised manner is relatively simple” if there is agreement among service providers.

Alvarez-Pallete noted when operators collaborated on roaming 37 years ago, “we changed the world”, predicting the Open Gateway initiative would have the same impact.

Figures released by the GSMA during MWC Barcelona 2024 show the initiative is gathering pace, with 47 operator groups already on board.

Alvarez-Pallete noted fibre and 5G are no-longer simply telecommunications networks, instead effectively being “something much more powerful, some massively decentralised supercomputer”.

“So at the end of the day, exposing the capabilities of this thing to everybody to make sure that we are able to monetise elements of the network” operators are “building anyhow”, means they can exploit those to generate revenue.

The executive also discussed Telefonica’s initial Open Gateway plays in Brazil and Spain, and why collaboration should be easier today than when roaming moves were first implemented. Click here to view.