AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile US are patting themselves on the back after successfully testing a cross-carrier network API.

Nick Wood

February 23, 2024

3 Min Read
Inspired flight

The tests, carried out independently by the three operators, involved working with US drone maker Inspired Flight Technologies on an application that makes use of the device status API. They claim this is the first test of its kind.

According to CAMARA – the open source API project led by the Linux Foundation in partnership with the GSMA and TM Forum – the device status API enables apps to check if a device is losing its connection to the network; becomes reachable again after a period of being offline; and query its roaming status.

For drone operations, the API could make it easier to stay connected to the network, thereby improving reliability and performance. The API's ability to monitor the connection could also be used to detect network outages on the ground.

"The ability to access this type of network information via an API will allow us to better support drone flight and management, to pinpoint where to send relief immediately after weather events and/or to fly over communications, and other assets to expedite recovery efforts," said Adam Bilmes, senior director of business development at Inspired Flight Technologies.

"This is a great step forward in realising the value of APIs. We are excited to continue this collaboration with the GSMA and other operators so we can create new connectivity experiences and value for customers," added Yigal Elbaz, senior VP and network CTO at AT&T, which earlier this week launched its Network API Platform for developers.

In addition to the drone use case tested out by AT&T et al, device status – in combination with other APIs – gives telcos the opportunity to pitch roaming offers to customers, or notify them of suspicious activity, such as their SIM profile unexpectedly popping up in another country.

"Wireless networks, or more accurately for this context 'programmable networks', are the next great frontier for developers," said Karri Kuoppamaki, SVP of advanced and emerging technologies at T-Mobile US. "The speed, low latency, and enhanced capacity of today's networks create fresh clay to empower developers and increase operator value, and we're just getting started."

Indeed, all being well, innovative new services like these should help telcos generate some extra revenue.

STL Partners last year forecast that revenue from mobile network APIs will reach $22 billion by 2028, accounting for 2.3 percent of mobile service revenue. The consultancy predicted that real-time and non-real-time device status will emerge in 2024, and establish themselves as two of the more prominent sources of API revenue by the end of the forecast period.

Other big API revenue generators are expected to be edge node discovery, quality of service (QoS) on demand, and background data transfer.

Srini Kalapala, SVP of technology and product development at Verizon said: "Network APIs introduce cutting-edge network capabilities to enterprises and developers globally, showcasing the massive potential of 5G technology, accelerating digital transformation within enterprises, and driving innovation, growth and profitability."

The GSMA likes to highlight the broad base of support from operators for Open Gateway. According to the industry group, 42 CSPs, representing 237 mobile networks and 65 percent of global connections have signed up.

Recent highlights include BT partnering with Nokia to use its Network as Code platform and make APIs available to developers, and Deutsche Telekom launching a suite of network APIs with help from Ericsson and its Vonage unit.

At next week's Mobile World Congress, the GSMA will host a mini conference, Open Gateway DevCon, as it looks to build on the momentum that kicked off with last year's launch of its big API initiative.

"In the same way open standards and interoperability helped harmonise mobile voice services and roaming across the world 35 years ago, GSMA Open Gateway can unlock the door to a whole array of new 5G services and innovations," said Henry Calvert, head of networks at the GSMA.

About the Author(s)

Nick Wood

Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.

You May Also Like