Ericsson has launched an initiative to allow mobile network operators around the world to connect to multiple over the top video providers to deliver new services to users. The proposition appears to bridge the gap between the access provider and services delivered over the top of their networks. Ericsson is partnering with Google to bring new features to YouTube. Ericsson is also building a global content distribution network in partnership with telco operators and teaming up with Amazon Web Services.

OTT Cloud Connect, otherwise known as OCC, provides an open gateway platform to allow any online video player to deliver features based on integration with specific operator network capabilities. The platform abstracts features of the operator network and provides simple integration for over the top players and applications.

The announcement from Ericsson at Mobile World Congress is sufficiently abstract that it does not provide examples of use cases, but one can imagine that these might involve user identity, location, service plan or billing information.

Google will be one of the first to take advantage of the platform.

Jay Akkad, a product manager for YouTube, said: “Mobile environments introduce a number of complexities, but also a range of opportunities when it comes to delivering quality experiences for users. Ericsson’s OTT Cloud Connect forges collaboration between operators and OTT providers to break down some of this complexity and open the door to a world of opportunity for enhancing services.”

So we are still no wiser as to what this might involve, or what are the implications for user privacy or the ability to opt in or out of such a platform.

“Collaboration, between operators and OTT providers, would be key as we start seeing new innovative services being introduced towards the end users,” said Diomedes Kastanis, the head of technology for business unit support solutions at Ericsson. “Ericsson is strongly supportive of this approach and we believe we are in a sweet spot to play the role of an enabler to make this collaboration happen.”

Interestingly, one of the ways that we have tended to define over the top services is that they are independent of the access network provider. In this case, it seems that the over the top service will collaborate with the underlying network, providing a differentiated experience to the end user.

Ericsson also announced a Unified Delivery Network, which it calls UDN, in conjunction with global service providers including Vodafone, Telstra and Hutchison, with services including Brightcove, DailyMotion and EchoStar.

This global content distribution network offers the collective members full global reach for delivering content and services.

Per Borgklint, the head of business unit support solutions at Ericsson described it as “a disruptive new business model that offers a win-win situation for all players involved with traffic delivery”. He said: “Service providers are given revenue-generating possibilities as they invest in building out their networks and content providers can take advantage of a much more transparent delivery environment.”

Together with news that Ericsson is working with Amazon Web Services to extend cloud services to telcos, the intent is clearly to assist both network operators and media service providers deliver on a global scale.

That means competing with other providers, such Akamai, although in practice media service companies will still need to work with many partners to reach their total target market.