Network APIs: Driving new revenue streams for telcos

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As connectivity becomes ever more integral to enterprises’ operations, network APIs have emerged as a highly anticipated means for telcos to monetise their 5G investments while meeting customer needs. How big is the opportunity, and what commercial models will work?


Format: PDF filePages: 34 pagesAuthor: Tim OttoPublication Date: April 2023

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Network APIs promise new revenues for telcos
    • Two API domains: The macro network and MEC
    • Need for reliable, real-time connectivity across a wide area will drive demand
    • Layers of API needed to translate network complexity into valuable network functions
    • Cross-telco collaboration and engagement of developers
    • Each industry fora focuses on specific layers of the API value chain
  • Operators must leverage multiple distribution channels for network APIs
    • Failure to standardise quickly allows other distribution channels to achieve greater scale
    • Operators must engage the developer community to play an aggregator role
  • Challenges and barriers: What needs to change
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix
    • Understanding the fundamentals of APIs
    • What are network APIs and what has changed?

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Mobile network API revenue opportunity, worldwide
  • Figure 2: MEC APIs vs. Network APIs
  • Figure 3: Importance of connectivity features for developers
  • Figure 4: Best-efforts framework used by application developers
  • Figure 5: Northbound APIs depend on east/west and southbound APIs to drive growth
  • Figure 6: Comparing network APIs defined by industry fora and initiatives
  • Figure 7: Mapping network APIs across the value chain
  • Figure 8: Potential GTM models for CSP raw materials (network API)
  • Figure 9: Developers generally trust hyperscalers to provide the necessary tools to build their applications
  • Figure 10: Application developers are forced to develop their own platforms to integrate with multiple network carriers
  • Figure 11: Behaviours driving the proliferation of APIs


Technologies and industry terms referenced include: 5G, 5G monetisation, APIs, AT&T, CAMARA, Deutsche Telekom, DISH, GSMA, GSMA open gateway, Hyperscalers, network APIs, Orange, SDK, T-Mobile US, TELUS, TM Forum, Vodafone