LIVE FROM MWL UNWRAPPED: Telefonica chief digital officer Chema Alonso (pictured) played down any possibility of hyperscale companies or other resellers taking a major share of the value from universal operator APIs being made available, backing the move for major industry benefits.

Speaking at the online event, Alonso highlighted Telefonica had been selling capabilities based on APIs for ten years, but was confident united APIs accessed through aggregators and hyperscale companies would open a new revenue stream for the company.

“In reality, I don’t think the value is in the channel. I think the channel has a value, of course, but the 5G antennas belong to the telco” he noted, adding the operator also had a range of capabilities and expertise to offer, citing experience in creating drone highways and networks for remote driving. 

He also pointed to the range of third parties operators could supply by covering aggregators, cloud providers and developer communities. “Today there are a lot of channels to the developer community and, just to be completely clear, we want to be in all of them,” Alonso added.  

Telefonica was one of the early backers of the GSMA’s Open Gateway initiative, which seeks to provide access to universal operator APIs.

The operator is a national champion for the push in Brazil and its home market of Spain.

Alonso said its plans were to launch in the former this month, with a target of January 2024 for Spain.    

The enthusiastic advocate of the initiative expects the GSMA Open Gateway initiative to widen access to operator network capabilities for a broader range of organisations than currently, noting issues being faced by smaller players.

“We have a lot of capabilities that are valuable for digital creators, but our complexity makes [it] completely impossible for a start-up, one innovator or a small company to deal with 700 telcos. So our capabilities are being used only for corporations big enough to deal with our complexity.”

The executive added the main purpose of the GSMA Open Gateway initiative was to cut these barriers so every developer and small company could “consume our capabilities with one single line of code and just pay for usage,” without multiple meetings and engagements.