NICE, France -- Management World 2013 -- Three of the world's biggest suppliers of network equipment and related OSS software have struck an agreement that promises to cut the cost of multi-vendor network rollouts, speed up time to market for operators and simplify network operations.
But not everyone will benefit if the accord gains traction amongst the Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) community.
Ericsson AB, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Nokia Siemens Networks are the initial signatories to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for an Operations Support System Interoperability Initiative (OSSii).
The basic idea is that signatory companies share interface code with each other to enable simplified "up-front" multi-vendor OSS testing and integration, with "openness, fairness, reasonableness and non-discriminatory treatment" as the "guiding principles." The three founding members are at pains to stress that any company can join OSSii -- it's not a closed group -- and also that this isn't a standards initiative, so is not butting up against anything the TM Forum is doing on developing generic OSS interface specifications.
That process should, in theory, save participating vendors and their operator customers time and money.
But it seems a bit limited with just three companies, albeit three of the largest vendors in the industry. Peter Patomella, head of OSS at NSN's mobile broadband division, says other companies have been involved in conversations during the past year but the trio decided it was time to get the initiative out into the open and invite everyone to get involved.
Patomella didn't want to name those other vendors because of legal considerations -- the process of agreeing to the MoU for any participating company is a significant legal undertaking due to the sharing of intellectual property, explains the NSN man. In fact, the in-depth legal process is the reason it has taken 12 months just to get to the initial MoU, adds Patomella.
He expects other companies to join, though, as there are significant benefits to be had for operators and vendors alike.
But where there are winners there always have to be losers. In this instance it's the systems integrators that look to be in the firing line, as any ready-made OSS integration efforts will only cut down the input required from the integrator community.
That will please operator CFOs historically resigned to dealing with the costs of major integration projects -- as long as the integrators aren't needed later on to pick apart any unforeseen problems.
In the meantime, network operators will be looking closely to see which other companies sign up, and if the likes of Alcatel-Lucent and ZTE Corp. don't get involved, they'll want to know why.
— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading