Telecom Giants Unite to Take Down Tech Titans Google and Apple in Landmark Agreement

Trevor Monteiro
Mar 1, 2023
Google Android, iOS, Mobile Computing

In the 2023 edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC), most get excited about new phones coming out or cool gadgets that allow you to send satellite messages via Bluetooth. However, the most groundbreaking event might have gone unnoticed by many since it didn’t offer any new phones, tech specs, or hot design rumors. I’m talking about the announcement made by José María Álvarez-Pallete, Telefónica’s CEO, who is also the president of the GSMA. 

Telecom Giants Unite to Take Down Tech Titans Google and Apple in Landmark Agreement

As it turns out, this industry leader presented a historical alliance between the largest communication operators. Named Open Gateway, it will allow participating companies to get extra income from their 5G networks. Additionally, it’ll allow app developers to release products for the global market.

Why is this such a deal? you may ask. One of the main objectives of Open Gateway is to confront Google and Apple. These companies dominate the app market with their respective stores. 

If you’re a mobile developer, you know you need your app on either Google Play or the App Store since both are used by 95% of smartphones worldwide. This is almost the only way to thrive in the mobile ecosystem nowadays, but it comes with a price. Both companies get a juicy 30% cut from the developers’ income.

Last week, the European Commission debated whether big platforms such as Amazon, Google, or Netflix had to pay to be part of the Internet. This discussion happened, partly, because of the constant pressure of mobile network operators.

Naming it “equilibrium”, Álvarez-Pallete thinks that this alliance will be a blow to Google and Apple. They plan to allow developers to use their 5G network to release apps without other intervening parties. That would mean you don’t need Google and Apple anymore to release an app or download it as a user.

Telecom Giants Unite to Take Down Tech Titans Google and Apple in Landmark Agreement

The Open Gateway initiative is being launched for eight APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) at first, with open-source code. APIs are interfaces for developers to communicate with other applications, in this case, the network itself. Developed together with the Linux Foundation, these APIs relate to SIM card usage and network quality. More APIs will be added throughout the year.

This means that the 5G network will become programmable by third parties via standard APIs, no matter what network provider it is.

Here are the Open Gateway participants: América Móvil, Bharti Airtel, AT&T, Axiata, Deutsche Telekom, China Mobile, e& Group, KT, Liberty Global, KDDI, Orange, MTN, Singtel, STC, Swisscom, Telefónica, Telstra, Telenor, TIM, Vodafone, and Verizon. 

As you can see, these heavyweights can pose a serious threat to Google and Apple’s hegemony in the sector. It’s too soon to know the outcome, and how exactly this will benefit consumers. However, it seems the day of reckoning can come for everyone, even when you’re a tech giant like Google or Apple.


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