Orange ramps up network API strategy with Nokia partnership

French incumbent Orange has become the latest player to take a multichannel approach to selling network APIs.

Nick Wood

May 23, 2024

3 Min Read

It has signed up to use Nokia's Network as Code platform with developer portal, which flies in the face of telecoms convention for not abbreviating its name by way of a snappy acronym.

Under the agreement, app makers will be able to play around with various of Orange's network APIs in the hopes of developing something that might inject some much-needed excitement into the malaise-ridden 5G market, and generate a bit of revenue into the bargain.

As far as we can tell, the agreement covers Orange's European footprint, which for developers represents an addressable market of around 100 million mobile customers, which is not to be sneezed at.

As Nokia points out, Orange already has an API portal for developers, with categories ranging from comms, payments, IoT, and authentication and identity, among others. Orange also splits them out into APIs for business customers, wholesale customers, and by region. It's a comprehensive-looking portal.

Tapping up Nokia's Network as Code platform takes it to the next level, by increasing the number and variety of open network APIs developed to the technical standards established by the GSMA's Open Gateway initiative and the Linux Foundation's CAMARA working group.

Orange and Nokia will also offer pre-commercial use case support while leveraging their respective network API expertise and network capabilities. It is being launched as a pilot programme, and will be rolled out in select European countries via Orange's network of 5G labs.

Any developer working to these standards should therefore have less trouble developing solutions that can make use of Orange's network APIs.

"This is an important step in our relationship with Orange and further validation of the steps we are taking in the API journey to help customers achieve network programmability and monetisation," said Raghav Sahgal, president of cloud and network services at Nokia. "We look forward to our continued close cooperation with developers to create and drive new opportunities that support Orange in delivering even more value from its network assets."

The partnership also underscores this trend of telcos and vendors attempting to establish multiple channels to market for their APIs. Nokia itself recently partnered with communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) provider Infobip, under which they will cross-market their API portfolios to their respective developer communities.

Deutsche Telekom has tapped up Ericsson's Vonage unit for its recently-launched suite of network APIs. Its wholesale arm also recently added an API portal too.

Partnering with Nokia should extend the reach of Orange's APIs to a greater number of developers.

"We are very pleased to open another area of collaboration with Nokia that enables compelling business use cases to consume our network assets in ways that were not really feasible years ago," said Orange CTO Laurent Leboucher. "Today, the level of collaboration among operators, system integrators, developers, and partners, is a step change and this is positioning us to better tap the cloud-native capabilities built into Orange's 5G network."

Nokia and Orange are kicking off their partnership by co-hosting a Network as Code Hackathon on Thursday and Friday. It is being held at tech start-up conference Viva Tech in Paris.

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.

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