Nokia: Telcos must embrace APIs and developer community
Three quarters of telco service providers have said that opening their networks through API exposure is ‘a top 5’ operational priority, a survey by Nokia has revealed.
However, the survey, carried out by analysts at Analysys Mason, also found that there have been calls from the developer community for operators to simplify their networks for API creation.
Around 73% of telcos said that they were turning to application programme interfaces (APIs) and SDK (software development kit) to enable software developers to create programmes that offer new 5G services to customers.
And on this score, the developer community is enthusiastic: the research found that around 60% of developers questioned said they were keen to write software programmes that enabled them to create applications offering new services, such as improved quality on demand.
The research surveyed 44 communication/ telco service providers (CSPs) and 67 software developer firms around the world to assess their attitudes on the concept of network-platform-as-a-service (NPaaS) – sometimes referred to as Network-as-Code, or programable network.
The Finnish telco estimated that the market for these services that are enabled by telecom APIs is forecast to grow from $12 billion in 2022 to $34 bn by 2026.
According to Nokia, telecom service APIs will have a “significant” role to play in monetising 5G “because they can unlock functionality and data in telecom networks, allowing developers to create new use cases for their enterprise and consumer customers”.
Consequently, the firm predicted, hiring and contracting software developers at scale will become “increasingly essential to the creation and delivery of 5G services”.
However, while all sides are broadly aligned in their objectives, the study did uncover some friction.
Around half the developers surveyed cited network issues – such as the need for more insight and control of how network quality affects the performance of their applications when trying to use cloud or SaaS services.
And just over three quarters of software developers (76%) indicated that as they currently stood, network APIs were too complex.
Amanda Brock CEO of open-source advocacy group Open UK spoke to TechInformed last month about the need for the telco community to engage more with developer to resolve some of these issues.
“Telcos will really need to engage more with organisations like OpenUK to understand how to build success in a collaborative and open space and we are still not seeing enough engagement in existing open-source software communities from the Telco sector,” she said
Shkumbin Hamiti head of network monetisation platform, Cloud and Network Services, at Nokia added:
“This research underscores the appetite to drive this ecosystem forward, but also highlights the work to be done to facilitate a deeper understanding between CPSs and developers and the required work between them.”
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