NPaaS: operator strategies and implementation of 5G APIs

19 April 2023 | Research

Gorkem Yigit

Perspective | PDF (21 pages) | Future Comms| Edge and Media Platforms

"Analysys Mason conducted a survey in 1Q 2023 of 44 CSPs to examine CSPs' attitudes to the NPaaS opportunity, and has augmented these insights with a survey of developers carried out at the same time."


At MWC 2023, the GSMA announced the Open Gateway initiative to identify and commercialise new APIs that can open up a wealth of capabilities in communications service providers’ (CSPs’) networks to developers. These network-as-a-service (NaaS) APIs will be defined and developed by the Linux Foundation’s open-source Camara Project (CAMARA) but CSPs that participate in Open Gateway will determine the priority order for API development according to industry needs. The initiative is starting with the promotion of eight APIs that are already in the CAMARA GitHub repository, including SIM swap, quality on demand, device status, number verification, edge site selection and routing, number verification (SMS 2FA) and carrier billing, and more will be added during 2023. 

Our previous paper Driving value from telecoms networks beyond CPaaS: the opportunity to revolutionize application delivery, made the case for a network-platform-as-a-service (NPaaS) platform. An NPaaS platform comprises the set of technologies that will enable NaaS by managing the exposure of an extensive set of network capabilities. In this paper, we examine CSP attitudes to the NPaaS opportunity and their approaches to the NPaaS platform as revealed through a survey of 44 CSPs undertaken in early 2023. We have augmented the CSP view with the perspective of the developer community, gained through a survey carried out at the same time. These surveys determined the level of market interest in network APIs and probed CSP and developer strategies for providing and using them.

The reasons cited for the launch of Open Gateway align with the findings of our CSP survey. CSP respondents cited the need to generate new revenue from new sources as the main driver behind their interest in exposing a greater range of APIs than the IMS-based APIs that are currently available from CPaaS platforms. CSPs interviewed and surveyed by Analysys Mason agreed with the GSMA that such network capabilities will provide new value to developers by revolutionising the way the latter can deliver applications. While our research confirms that the exposure of network APIs is a strategic priority for CSPs, there is much to be done to establish a successful NPaaS that spans networks and attracts a large community of developers. 

This paper addresses key findings of the survey.

NPaaS: operator strategies and implementation of 5G APIs

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