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T-Mobile International ebXML B2B Gateway Solution

A new OASIS case study is published describing the deployment of the ebXML messaging and collaboration protocol agreements OASIS Standards at T-Mobile International. The full case study is available from http://www.oasis-open.org/casestudies/


T-Mobile was founded in Germany July 1993 to provide mobile telephony services in Germany. Since then, the company has developed into an integrated and coordinated global brand, and one of the leading international mobile communications carriers. T-Mobile operates in key markets in Europe, including Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, as well as in the United States. By the end of 2006, T-Mobile International employed over 54,000 people serving more than 106.4 million customers in the twelve T-Mobile markets. T-Mobile International accounted for around 32 billion euros revenue in fiscal 2006 and is a fast growing strategic business unit of Deutsche Telekom, the international communications company.

As a leading mobile communications company, T-Mobile works closely with suppliers, distributors, wholesalers and other strategic business partners, and its corporate customers.  Business collaborations such as ordering and billing involve massive exchange of information, increasingly in electronic formats. In early 2003, the T-Mobile CRM department found that business partners of T-Mobile started requesting a more capable and standards-based B2B interface that would work for all business domains, replacing the various non-standard machine-to-machine interfaces that had been developed over the years.

The EAI and Architecture team at T-Mobile’s corporate IT Department worked with T-Mobile business units to select a B2B standard, based on an analysis of the requirements of existing electronic communication systems and some of the anticipated new applications that were being planned. These requirements included the ability to exchange business data in any format (XML, EDI, PDF), without pre-defined limitations in message size in a reliable and secure fashion among T-Mobile and its business partners, using an open standard implemented in commercial off-the-shelf products. The framework that was found to best meet these requirements was ebXML, in particular the ebXML Message Service and the ebXML Collaboration Protocol Profile and Agreements technical specifications developed at OASIS, the international open standards consortium.

To validate the decision to use ebXML and to select a commercial product to support its implementation in the company, T-Mobile issued a Request for Information to multiple vendors. T-Mobile selected Axway (previously Cyclone Commerce) for a proof-of-concept to test both ebXML functionality (including reliable messaging and packaging) and scalability of the gateway to large numbers of business partners and large volumes. These tests were completed successfully in spring 2004. As of December 2006, T-Mobile International has been operating a production ebXML-based B2B gateway using this solution for over two years. The number of business partners connected to the gateway is expected to double in 2007, as the system will be used to serve more of the geographies in which T-Mobile operates.

In retrospect, the overall experience with ebXML at T-Mobile has been very positive. If the decision would have to be made today, T-Mobile would again select ebXML. One of the key benefits is that while ebXML is a powerful technology, it is at the same time minimally intrusive to existing applications. This means that existing systems and exchanges can be made to benefit from a reliable and secure ebXML infrastructure easily, with limited or no changes to back-end enterprise applications.


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