NaaS Automation | MEF, TM Forum Unify APIs and Service Models


MEF, a global industry association of network, cloud, security, and technology providers accelerating enterprise digital transformation, and TM Forum, the leading global alliance of telco and tech companies, has announced a joint initiative aimed at aligning their respective API and product and service models.

This new collaborative effort will streamline automation for MEF Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) implementations delivered across a global partner ecosystem.

MEF NaaS services include on-demand connectivity like Carrier Ethernet and IP, application assurance via SD-WAN and E2E network slicing, cybersecurity capabilities such as SASE, SSE and ZTNA and multi-cloud for multi-access edge computing (MEC) and cloud connectivity.


The digital infrastructure sector is currently overwhelmed with proprietary and non-standard API implementations that fail to scale with the evolving automation requirements of enterprises and the complex ecosystem of telecom service providers, hyper-scalers, data centers and technology suppliers. Standardized APIs reduce market confusion, cut both capex and opex costs and accelerate time to revenue. By aligning MEF’s extensive Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) APIs providing automation between parties in an ecosystem with TM Forum’s proven Open Digital Architecture (ODA) and Open API standards providing automation within each ecosystem partner’s systems, the collaboration aims to deliver a powerful integrated automation solution to advance digital services for the enterprise through industry-wide standardization.

MEF’s LSO APIs today deliver extensive interoperability capabilities to facilitate automation of business and operational functions between ecosystem partners, including retail and wholesale service providers, by providing context clarity of attributes within the APIs and product and service models for various NaaS services. Currently, more than 160 service providers are in various phases of adoption of MEF APIs.

TM Forum’s portfolio of 80+ Open APIs are a widely adopted industry standard, with more than 870,000 downloads by over 48,000 registered developers and 1,100 conformance certifications in commercial software products and real-world implementations.

As part of the collaboration, MEF will evolve its LSO APIs to conform to TM Forum’s Gen5 Open API standards, using Domain Context Specialization (DCS) capabilities to support standardized, MEF-defined models. MEF will design product and service models conforming to TM Forum Gen5 API DCS design patterns and governance, and work towards conformance test kit (CTK) compliance. TM Forum will contribute its comprehensive suite of widely adopted automation assets including Open Digital Architecture, Gen5 Domain Context Specialization APIs and its NaaS TMF909 API suite to provide an abstraction layer mapping NaaS services to network resources, irrespective of vendor implementation.

Initial work on the first APIs has established a clear technical path to delivering a full API suite for automation within MEF’s NaaS domain by the end of 2025.

In addition, the two organizations will work together to develop service models for MEF-defined NaaS services aligned to TM Forum’s automation assets to address the core requirements of MEF-standardized and other NaaS offerings.

“Enterprises expect the same agility in network services from NaaS that they experience with cloud. MEF’s widely adopted LSO API product and service schemas are crucial to meeting these expectations,” said Pascal Menezes, CTO, MEF. “Our expanded collaboration with TM Forum to align on common APIs and data models empowers service providers to automate the full lifecycle delivery of complex multi-provider NaaS services with the ease, agility and responsiveness businesses expect in the cloud era.”

“True end-to-end automation requires industry-wide collaboration on common specifications to enable automated service delivery across the broader telecommunications ecosystem,” said George Glass, CTO, TM Forum. “Our work with MEF serves as a blueprint for other domains facing similar multi-partner integration challenges as we continue collaborating to drive industry-wide standardization.”