The ever-growing value of Open APIs in CSPs


Why do we never have time to do it right, but we always have time to do it  (Anonymous)


When we talk about APIs and their benefits, not only do we speak about the reduction of Time-to-Market but also the reduction of development efforts. This is the reason why many telecom companies like Telefonica or Vodafone already use them. As a certified supplier of TM Forum Open APIs, Satec has founded alvatross, a cloud-native digital platform to launch new products and services faster.

In the last decades of software development, the way of doing things right in the telecom industry has proven to be ever-changing, and a company’s survival in the market depends on how well their technology is integrated into their business model. The challenge of quickly becoming a digital player offering services to the market is complex, and many approaches have come and gone to ensure agility in telco operations. Low-code technology development can allow CSPs the independence and control they need to deliver their innovations and adapt to market changes in the 5G era.

Therefore, the ever-growing telecom market has shifted from the world of Telecom subscribers to a new world where users consume applications on open devices. This is the reason why Open APIs (application programming interfaces) have become a widely popular and highly demanded solution to provide end-to-end seamless connectivity to allow communication amongst applications, enabling, and promoting the creation of software platforms and partnerships.

Figure 1. Open API chart

What are the advantages of TM Forum Open APIs?

From a developer’s perspective, there are many advantages to following TM Forum Open API standard in projects involving API implementation:

  • Developers can detect potential bugs in the early definition phase and can focus on the needs of the consumer of the API, thus abstracting from the problems that may arise during development.
  • There is less dependency between the teams working on API implementation, and their tasks may already be started in advanced, as the API’s functionality is known from the outset.
  • It simplifies API design thanks to the available tools in the market, providing a well-defined structured approach that ensures compliance with the standard.
  • It streamlines the process of development, and implementation, testing and documentation, with an emphasis on the cooperation of different departments involved.

From the telecom company’s perspective, the use of TM Forum Open APIs is an attractive opportunity for companies with multiple benefits:

  • With the rise of 5G , APIs promote the creation of next-generation solutions in the telecommunication market.
  • They promote scalability. As a well-defined REST-based interface, a TM Forum Open API enables the growth of a company’s system. This way, when telecom companies develop new components or apps, they can easily use those same standard Open APIs.
  • They reduce development costs as they can now expand their user base without spending more money to develop new industry software for their business model.
  • They reduce the Time-to-Market of their products, creating a new go-to-market channel that enhances revenues, and they increase the production of new ideas without investing in development efforts.

This means that companies can finally offer their clients the delivery of a product that not only complies with standards but also meets their business needs, adapting and implementing new market trends. In fact, the business strategy of having specialised partners to develop solutions with higher quality is an essential trend in 2021. Telcos do not need to develop an entire solution from scratch anymore, and they can gain scalability in their processes by integrating with already existing services, managing to create a standardised and customised ecosystem for their customers.

Current providers and users of TM Forum Open APIs

With exponentially growing numbers, according to TM Forum’s latest numbers, Open APIs are used by 1,800 users from 300 independent companies, that already enjoy over 9,000 API assets, with over 300,000 downloads since their launch, whose manifesto has been signed by many companies, like Nokia, Huawei, and Satec, among others.

As a new leader in the Open API ecosystem, Satec has created alvatross, a young corporate venture with professional and experienced staff in the development of software infrastructure who is now devoted to the TM Forum Open API world of telecommunications. 

We are also proud to announce that we have successfully finished the TM Forum certification process of our 6 APIs in their latest version, ranking amongst the top global suppliers of TM Forum Open APIs. Besides its six existing functioning interfaces, alvatross has plans to expand its API offering to shortly become a resource supplier as well. Alvatross’s current APIs include Product Order Management, Service Order Management, Service Activation and Configuration, Service Inventory, Product Catalog and Service Catalog.

Our OM strategy ensures and orchestrates the E2E ambitions of all CSPs in the 5G era. Our platform uses a standardised format to ensure compatibility with other systems and scalability to develop new services. As an orchestrated OM system, it can also easily understand the type of services to be fulfilled so that it can make faster and better decisions. Moreover, its user-friendly and intuitive interface will make it simple for all members of any organisation to easily adapt to it, regardless of their specialised knowledge. Ultimately, this can translate into new business opportunities for telecom service providers to diversify their business models and offer new products and services to become truly competitive in 2021, rather than letting technology limit their options.

Some of the world’s most important service providers have officially already adopted TM Forum Open APIs for the management of their digital services. In the following chart extracted from the data collected by TM Forum, you can have a look at the top 25 users of Open APIs within the Telecom industry:

Figure 2. Top 25 CSP users of TM Forum Open APIs according to TM Forum’s report

Moreover, and according to a survey conducted by TM Forum where they asked CSPs and their suppliers about their use of Open APIs, only about a 6 % of respondents said they did not plan to adopt the interface, meaning around 94 % of the respondents already used it or had plans to adopt it.

Figure 3. The status of Open API adoption according to TM Forum’s 2021 report

From this information, we can extract that, in a globalised world where technology develops by leaps and bounds, it is smart to simplify and automate tasks as much as possible within an organisation. As shown in the chart above, most people agree, becoming part of the Open API world is specifically important when we talk about Telecom companies, which have experienced rapid growth over the last few decades. This is the reason why several companies already integrate Open APIs, and many more are yet to do so. Open APIs implementation helps organisations save on time-consuming tasks, be faster in their Time-to-Market, and produce new ideas, something we can translate into higher revenue.

Telcos that want their customers to consume their services nowadays, need to make them available in applications via APIs so that they can be consumed by the innovative ecosystem outside those companies. Streamline integrations are essential to ensure a harmonised portfolio of applications, thereby companies can take their big data to the next level and provide their clients with products that fit their business needs.

In other words, telcos really ought to get into the API game if they want to keep up to date with the new trends and currents of the 2020s. There is a real necessity to move faster if you wish to become competitive in such a market. So let us call you, get all the information you need, and a demo to enjoy a digitally driven experience that will help your company promote its products saving time, money, and increasing your profits.

The best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is now.

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