Opening the power of telecom networks to AWS developers

By Dr. Ishwar Parulkar, Chief Technologist, Telecom and Edge Cloud at AWS

Access to telecom networks through APIs

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are an integral part of modern software design and the foundation of microservices architectures. In the last year, telcos across the world have been enhancing their networks and offering APIs that provide access to network services, giving observability into and programmability of telecom networks. Under GSMA’s Open Gateway initiative, telcos are standardizing the definitions of these APIs so applications using these APIs are portable across different connectivity providers and different geographies. Some examples of capabilities that developers can add to their applications using these APIs include: 1) checking the last time that the SIM card associated with a mobile number has changed (SIM Swap API), 2) performing seamless authentication of a mobile device with the mobile network by requesting a check of the number (Number Verification API), 3) checking connectivity status for a user equipment, such as whether it is roaming (Device Status API), 4) requesting stable latency (reduced jitter) or throughput for specified application data flows between application clients and servers (Quality on Demand API), 5) discovering the optimal edge cloud node for the application to be hosted on (Edge Discovery Service API), and many more.

Developers can use these APIs along with other software components, to build “network-aware” applications and create new applications that were not possible before. Over the years, AWS has built a global cloud infrastructure and services on top of that infrastructure, offered to and consumed by developers and customers via APIs. AWS is partnering with telcos globally to offer telco network APIs to AWS developers. These developers already use thousands of AWS APIs from over 240 AWS services, and now they can access telco network APIs to build applications and host them on AWS.

How AWS will empower telcos and developers

With this collaboration, AWS is empowering telcos as well as developers. First, AWS is creating a friction-less, compelling developer experience. AWS has a very large community of developers building applications using its deep and broad portfolio of services. Telco network functionality through APIs is a new capability AWS will provide, maintaining the developer experience that AWS users are familiar with. Access to multiple connectivity providers, simplified developer experience, and application portability through API abstraction are values that AWS will provide to developers.

Second, AWS is creating a new go-to-market-channel for telcos. On top of building new network services offered through APIs, telcos want to open new channels for wider adoption. AWS offers a channel to a large community of developers that cater to various industry verticals and span a wide range from startups, small/medium/large enterprises, to public sector companies.

Third, this collaboration creates a global reach, both for telcos to offer APIs, and for developers to use and host their applications. Most telcos operate within country borders, whereas developers, applications, and their use, span multiple geographies. AWS will provide developers with a consistent, standardized API experience in a global footprint, facilitating portability of their applications across different connectivity providers and countries.

AWS Marketplace as a channel to developers

This collaboration uses and builds on the capabilities of the AWS Marketplace. The AWS Marketplace makes it easy for customers and cloud developers to find third-party software, data, and services. AWS Marketplace includes thousands of software listings and simplifies software procurement with flexible pricing options and multiple delivery methods.

In the past two years, the number of active customers in the AWS Marketplace has increased by 287%. Today, the AWS Marketplace has more than 15,000 transactable listings, and 2.5 million active subscriptions. A recent study by Forrester Research found that partners who build and scale an AWS Marketplace practice can realize 234% return on investment, 50% faster deal closure, and 5% richer deal sizes.

Telcos will be able to leverage the power of the AWS Marketplace to drive exposure and accelerate adoption of network APIs. AWS Marketplace can provide a simplified AWS native developer experience to discover, procure, and use network APIs, aggregated across multiple telcos and countries. Enriched with capabilities such as consolidated billing, access to multiple connectivity providers, and flexible consumption models, telcos can reach a large global developer community with a compelling experience, helping to monetize their network assets in a new way.

Applications being built on AWS using Network APIs

AWS customers and developers who already use AWS services are starting to integrate these APIs from telcos into their applications. The early applications span a range of industry verticals and consume a variety of the APIs being developed by telcos. Here are a few examples:

• Autonomous vehicles: Unmanned Life offers an orchestration platform for autonomous drones for delivery, surveillance and data collection. Their platform is built on Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) clusters, Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) databases, and other AWS services. As network performance is critical for remote drone control, Unmanned Life uses Quality on Demand API to request bandwidth and latency guarantees on-demand to ensure the seamless operation of their drones.

• Industrial XR: Holo-Light specializes in industrial extended reality (XR) software that delivers high-quality immersive streaming to XR devices, used for digital twins, remote maintenance, and collaborative design. Built on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) with GPU for rendering and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for storage, to ensure low-latency streaming and end-to-end performance of their XR service, Holo-Light uses Quality on Demand API to control network performance and deliver a premium user experience.

• Financial Services: Terralogiq provides financial service solutions for businesses that streamlines processes like users’ onboarding and credit applications. Terralogiq builds on Amazon EC2, Amazon Textract for data extraction, and Amazon Rekognition for facial recognition. With a focus on user security, Terralogiq leverages SIM Swap and Number Verification APIs to protect users from fraud and ensure a seamless authentication experience. Banking is another vertical where we see similar applications.

• Gaming: Gamium offers a cloud platform for native digital payments and secure transactions between digital identities in gaming and virtual social environments. Gamium’s platform is built on AWS Fargate and RDS, among other services. Leveraging Number Verification and SIM Swap APIs, Gamium provides a simplified user authentication, enhanced fraud protection and secure digital transactions.

Partnering with telcos globally

We are continuing this journey with telcos globally in bringing network APIs from their networks to reach more developers and customers through AWS Marketplace.

“Verizon network APIs are introducing cutting-edge network capabilities to enterprises and developers globally, showcasing the massive potential of Verizon’s 5G network, accelerating digital transformation within enterprises, and driving innovation, growth and profitability,” said Srini Kalapala, Senior Vice President of Technology and Product Development at Verizon. “With the introduction of these APIs through AWS, developers on a global level will have easier access to Verizon network’s value and functionality. This work with AWS builds on the foundational network API technical proofs-of-concept which we showcased in 2023. Those collaborations highlighted specific use cases of the Edge Discovery Service and Quality on Demand APIs. We look forward to continuing our deep collaboration with AWS as leaders in this space.”

Chema Alonso, Chief Digital Officer, Telefonica said, “With Open Gateway, developers can use all the power of programmable networks to build business-critical applications. The CAMARA standard makes network APIs very simple to use and ensures automatic compliance with local privacy laws. AWS is the ideal platform to make API usage consistent across all telecom operators and available in one of the world’s best developer environments.”

“Since we opened access to our network APIs in 2022, T-Mobile has enabled developers and businesses to push the boundaries of innovation, and now we are thrilled to reach the AWS developer community as well,” said Mark McDiarmid, SVP of Technology Innovation and Industry Partnerships at T-Mobile. “Whether developers are leveraging more consistent network performance through a Quality on Demand API or a video calling network slicing capability — the only such program available on a live standalone 5G network in the United States — T-Mobile is dismantling the barriers to developers leveraging network APIs to build the solutions of tomorrow.”

“We welcome AWS’ collaboration with telcos to expose Orange’s network APIs providing valuable opportunities for developers worldwide to support network aware applications. We believe this will bring impactful co-innovation to the market already demonstrated by Orange Mobile Private Network on AWS Cloud, which is live in production, and our ongoing collaboration on autonomous networks,” said Laurent Leboucher, Chief Technology Officer, Orange Group and Senior Vice President of Orange Innovation Networks.

Madalina Suceveanu, Managing Director of Mobile & Cloud at Liberty Global, said “We are excited to be leveraging new partnerships to bring application developers and communication networks closer together, allowing developers to create applications that meet the needs of customers in ways that were not possible before. At Liberty Global, we are developing compelling use cases – some of which are being showcased at Mobile World Congress 2024 – leveraging our fixed and 5G Standalone (SA) mobile networks. This partnership with AWS will play a major role going forward. It is vital we continue this journey where telcos, global cloud-based providers, developers and standards organizations, work together to drive the ecosystem and ensure worldwide adoption.”

Our mission at AWS is to enable developers to build powerful applications, with ease, that can be deployed globally. We are continuously striving to offer a more sophisticated and diverse set of capabilities to our developers. Network APIs being developed and offered by telcos globally is one such new capability – of building telco network-aware applications – that will be available to AWS developers. We look forward to collaborating with more telcos globally as networks mature and the APIs get more adoption in our developer community.

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