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Another Opening for Aepona

10:50 AM -- A sure sign that a traditional telecom network operator is embracing the new world of Web-based applications is a commitment to open up its network resources to external developers, a move made by only a small minority of carriers so far.

That's because it's a tricky thing to do, from a technological and cultural perspective. The latest operator to take the plunge is Canada's Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI), with help from British Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) specialist Aepona Ltd.

The operator has built Rogers Catalyst, a developer platform that exposes select network and billing capabilities to applications developers and enterprise IT players, using technology from Aepona, a company that has been at the forefront of next-generation service creation developments for a number of years. (See Aepona Expands for Telco 2.0 Assault and Aepona Banks $10M.)

That Rogers has chosen Aepona's platform won't come as a big surprise in SPIT circles, as the operator, along with two other major Canadian carriers, has been involved in the first commercial implementation of the GSM Association (GSMA) 's OneAPI initiative, an attempt to make applications development easier for operators and developers alike in which Aepona is a key technology partner. (See Ops Still Finding Their Way With Apps.)

The deal, then, is good news for Aepona and for those in the industry that want to see operators expand their horizons and encourage the applications development community to help create and deliver value-added services across telco networks. Rogers, though, has been on board with the open API principle for some, though, as have its Canadian peers BCE Inc. (Bell Canada) (NYSE/Toronto: BCE) and Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T), so it's been a long, slow process to reach the launch of Rogers Catalyst.

Things need to speed up if other telcos aren't to be left behind and swamped by the Web services giants. The Canadian operators, along with a few others, appear to have understood that new ways of working need to be embraced. (See TDC Commits to Telco 2.0 Strategy.)

Now others need to follow suit, and at a quicker pace -- making a commitment in 2012 or beyond might just be too late for those telecom operators that have aspirations beyond acting as a dump pipe for smart applications providers.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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