Deutsche Telekom Demands OSS Standards

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2012 -- Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is one of an influential group of operators that is fed up with the lack of standardized interfaces between its network elements and operation support systems (OSS), the integration of which costs them millions of euros every year, and now they're doing something about it.

The German operator revealed that it expects to have some standard interface specifications available by the end of this year, and that by 2015 it aims to have all of its OSS systems "adapted to a new world of standard interfaces," according to Klaus-Jürgen Krath, senior VP of radio networks.

But Deutsche Telekom isn't alone in its desire to simplify and reduce the cost of back-office integration. The drive for these standards originated with Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Ltd. -- a group of 18 operators, including DT -- which has identified this complexity and lack of standardization as a problem for its members as they migrate to next-generation mobile networks like LTE.

Last year, the NGMN declared which Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) elements they wanted prioritized and presented those requirements to standard bodies such as the 3GPP and TM Forum, which are working together to create the new specs.

The first two OSS systems that the NGMN targeted are fault and inventory management. The second phase of the NGMN's project targets network configuration and performance management systems.

Deutsche Telekom, for one, has high expectations for the availability of these standards, and its suppliers should take note: Krath said that by 2015, all RFPs will be based on these new standardized interfaces.

But it's an issue that many operators feel strongly about. The following NGMN statement, published when the project launched, represents the views of Deutsche Telekom, Orange (NYSE: FTE), Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF):

    Due to lack of aligned standardized interfaces between Operations Support Systems and the production infrastructure, the deployment of new technologies and services requires an ever growing integration tax. ... The undersigning companies are no longer willing to increase payment for this shortcoming of the Telco industry and the standardization bodies, respectively.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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