Unlocking mobile networks’ potential with APIs

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In a new report, the GSMA has provided an update on its Open Gateway initiative first introduced in 2023.

Open Gateway leverages mobile networks’ global reach by providing access to network capabilities through common application programming interfaces (APIs). One year on, the initiative boasts nearly 50 operator sign-ups—representing about two-thirds of the global mobile market share.

The initiative’s success hinges on the deployment of its APIs. Currently, 17 APIs are in use, with an additional 11 defined in CAMARA, covering critical areas such as anti-fraud measures, quality on-demand, and edge compute.

Operators and the developer community are encouraged to utilise these capabilities fully. For instance, US operators are employing device location capabilities for drone tracking, while South African operators collaborate to prevent fraud. However, the window of opportunity is finite. The GSMA urges more operators to participate and engage more deeply with developers and distribution partners to ensure sustained progress.

Market momentum

As of March 2024, 49 mobile operators have committed to the GSMA Open Gateway, covering approximately 65% of the global mobile market share. This commitment reflects a strong intent to establish the supply side of the API equation. Nine operators joined in the first half of 2024, and further momentum is expected in the second half, especially in underpenetrated regions.

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2024 served as a global platform for the GSMA Open Gateway, emphasising the urgency of using APIs to monetise 5G networks. Following MWC, the pace of operator sign-ups has slowed, with efforts shifting towards raising awareness among the developer community and implementing APIs through hyperscaler and aggregator distribution.

The primary objective is to leverage the GSMA Open Gateway APIs to drive incremental mobile revenues. This initiative aims to validate the 5G enterprise narrative by engaging developers as a new channel for monetising 5G network assets, in addition to direct enterprise sales. While revenue growth is the ultimate goal, intermediate goals such as developer engagement, API usage, and demonstrable willingness to pay are crucial milestones.

Aggregators play a vital role in the GSMA Open Gateway strategy, connecting multiple operators to numerous developers. These companies, which span diverse industries, are essential for achieving the initiative’s scale. Their existing developer communities and go-to-market channels are critical for operators to monetise their networks at scale. However, effective communication and engagement with developers about the Open Gateway value proposition are essential for success.

Some key numbers:

  • 65%: Global market share coverage as of March 2024.
  • 24%: European share of the global API base.
  • 2x: Growth in operators committed over the last 12 months.
  • 17: APIs in the GSMA Open Gateway library, with a further 11 defined in CAMARA.

The GSMA Open Gateway has seen operator participation from countries such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, UAE, UK, USA, and Uzbekistan. This widespread adoption highlights the initiative’s global reach and potential.

2024 promises to be a pivotal year for Open Gateway aggregators. As the market evolves, the opportunity for aggregators will expand, with many solutions still in pre-commercial stages. Launches in 2024 are expected to unlock the aggregator value, driving the GSMA Open Gateway forward.

(Photo by choose your stories)

See also: Three UK cuts energy usage with Ericsson’s AI-powered tech

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Tags: 5G, api, developer, edge compute, gsma, mobile, Networks, open gateway, Operators, telecoms


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