BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2017 -- AT&T, Orange Business Services and Colt Technology Services have moved the industry forward with their new partnership that has created a standardized approach to orchestrating services across multiple provider networks.
The partnership, which was announced Tuesday at Mobile Word Congress, also includes the MEF and TM Forum. By using standardized, open APIs from the TM Forum
and MEF's Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) framework, the service providers can enable services across each other's SDN architectures despite the differences in their networks.
The initial APIs, which will be available by the end of this year, are targeting orchestrated Carrier Ethernet services. The partnership is significant because it allows service providers to use their own SDN controllers to turn bandwidth up or down on the other two providers' fiber in each other's footprints. Roman Pacewicz, marketing and global strategy senior vice president for AT&T Business Solutions, said creating the worldwide ecosystem for AT&T, Orange and Colt signified a transformation away from the legacy static, appliance-based approach, which require more labor, to a dynamic, on demand, software-centric, cloud-based approach.
The collaboration is "opening up a window of opportunity for us to redefine the model," Pacewicz said.
"This is really critical as networks move from hundreds of locations for physical buildings to potentially hundreds of thousands of end points," he said. "Now that networks are being re-engineered we wanted the opportunity to drive standards into the ecosystem."
While AT&T, Orange Business Services and Colt have networks all over the world there hasn't been a standard approach for tapping into each other's fiber to enable new services.
The partnership proves that when operators have vastly different networks they can now leverage the dynamic nature of the SDN to deliver different kinds of services, according to Pacewicz.
The eight APIs that are defined include; address validation, service availability, ordering, quoting, billing, assurance, testing and change management, with the first three slated for the first round of the project later this year.
Orange is using AT&T's ECOMP platform, which was combined with OPEN-O last week to form ONAP, so they are familiar with each other's networks. Last summer AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Colt Technology Services Group Ltd conducted a proof-of-concept (PoC) trial on the API interfaces. (See Linux Foundation Welds OPEN-O, ECOMP Into ONAP and AT&T, Colt Connect on API Interface Trial.)
With the partnership, Pacewicz said AT&T can use ECOMP to command the other providers' networks to dynamically provision end points. The new service is described as "seamless" to customers and allows them to use a web portal to turn up or turn down bandwidth in the same manner as when they are using AT&T's network.
"It gives you that flexibility, but it's all about creating an orchestrator level of service on an end-to end-basis regardless of the infrastructure, so the service is seamless," Pacewicz said.
Making the services dynamic and holistic across the service providers' networks is the first step, he said.
"That's a foundational building block of everything we do so we have to get that right before we go beyond it," Pacewicz said.
— Mike Robuck, Editor, Telco Transformation