The advent of 5G networks has opened up exciting new opportunities for businesses to create innovative applications and services that leverage the power of high-speed, low-latency connectivity. However, in order to fully capitalize on these opportunities, developers need the right tools and platforms. Understanding this, Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson has partnered with German telecom leader Deutsche Telekom to offer software to help developers and enterprises generate more revenue from 5G.
Ericsson Acquires Vonage to Boost 5G Application Development Capabilities
A key component enabling this partnership is Ericsson’s 2022 acquisition of Vonage, a cloud communications platform company, for $6.2 billion. Vonage provides application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow developers to easily integrate communications capabilities like voice, video and messaging into their applications.
By acquiring Vonage and its platform, Ericsson has positioned itself as a major provider of network APIs that developers can use to build innovative 5G applications. As Borje Ekholm, Ericsson’s CEO, noted, the company views the API business as a substantial opportunity in itself.
Network APIs Create New Revenue Streams for Telecoms
Specifically, Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom will offer network APIs built on the Vonage platform to provide software tools to developers and business customers. Network APIs allow access to capabilities and data from the underlying 5G network.
With these APIs, developers can create 5G applications that do things like:
- Boost network speed for specific uses
- Pinpoint a mobile user’s location for fraud prevention
- Enable real-time communication between devices
By charging developers and businesses for access to these network APIs, telecom operators like Deutsche Telekom can generate revenue beyond just providing 5G connectivity.
Research firm STL Partners predicts this API-driven 5G software market will grow to over $20 billion by 2028. So there is tremendous potential for new monetization models.
Standardization Drives API Adoption
To drive more widespread adoption, over 140 companies including Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom are collaborating on an open source project called CAMARA to standardize 5G network APIs.
Standardization will allow developers to easily leverage APIs across different operators’ networks. This interoperability will accelerate innovation and make it simpler to create applications that work globally.
5G APIs Help Telecom Operators Offer New Services
Telecom companies have invested heavily in building high-speed 5G networks. However, they need new ways to generate return on those network investments. As Ekholm pointed out, network APIs give operators an important new source of revenue they’ve lacked in the past.
By offering API access, carriers can provide enterprise customers with software tools to take advantage of 5G’s ultra-fast speeds and ultra-low latency in innovative ways. For example, manufacturers can use 5G APIs for high-precision automation and robotics in smart factories. Retailers can boost in-store experiences by locating customers via 5G APIs.
Partnership Lays Groundwork for API Monetization
The partnership between Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom aims to make the API business profitable on its own by establishing attractive revenue sharing models. Deutsche Telekom plans to monetize Ericsson’s Vonage-based network APIs by charging developers and enterprises for access.
For Ericsson, the arrangement provides global reach by leveraging Deutsche Telekom’s presence in over 50 countries. Deutsche Telekom benefits from integrating Ericsson’s leading 5G network infrastructure with Vonage’s advanced API capabilities.
So the deal is strategically positioned to enable both companies to capitalize on the emerging API-driven 5G application market.
Future Outlook: Innovative 5G Use Cases
With Ericsson’s software tools and Deutsche Telekom’s telecom infrastructure, developers worldwide will be empowered to create the next generation of 5G-enabled applications.
Industry analysts expect to see exciting new use cases leveraging 5G APIs emerge across areas like:
- Remote Healthcare– 5G-enabled real-time patient monitoring and telemedicine
- Smart Cities– Optimized traffic routing, autonomous vehicles, and environmental monitoring
- Immersive Entertainment– Augmented and virtual reality experiences
- Industrial Automation– Optimizing supply chains and advanced robotics
- Connected Vehicles– Software upgrades, usage-based insurance, and intelligent transportation systems
The potential for innovation is immense thanks to the high-performance connectivity and intelligent network capabilities unlocked by 5G network APIs.
Ongoing Challenges With 5G Adoption
However, some key challenges remain to realizing the full promise of 5G-powered solutions.
- Network Coverage– Despite progress, 5G deployment is still incomplete with many areas lacking coverage.
- Device Availability– Most consumers still lack 5G-compatible devices like smartphones.
- Developer Know-How– Many developers are still learning how to fully leverage 5G’s potential.
- Business Model Disruption– New 5G capabilities may require changes to business processes and models.
Overcoming these hurdles will take continued infrastructure investment, technological standardization, developer education, and evolving business strategies.
In summary, the partnership between Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom has the potential to accelerate 5G application development and unlock new revenue streams. By providing the tools and infrastructure, they are empowering businesses and developers to innovate with 5G network capabilities.
If this collaboration successfully drives adoption of 5G network APIs, it could catalyze the next wave of digital transformation across many industries. With robust security, seamless interoperability, and attractive commercial models, Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom aim to maximize the business value created by 5G connectivity. Their unified platform for network API innovation could shape the future of what’s possible in an era of ubiquitous high-speed connectivity.
Frequently Asked Questions
How will the Ericsson-Deutsche Telekom partnership benefit enterprises?
By providing 5G network APIs, the partnership will allow enterprises to develop customized applications leveraging 5G’s speed and reliability. This can enable innovations in areas like connected products, immersive experiences, and factory automation.
What are some key use cases for 5G network APIs?
Top use cases include self-driving vehicles, augmented reality shopping, smart factories, remote medicine, live entertainment, and optimized logistics. The ultra-fast performance and intelligent connectivity of 5G networks creates new possibilities.
How will this partnership drive 5G application development?
Ericsson provides the software tools via the Vonage API platform, while Deutsche Telekom offers the telecom infrastructure. Together, they enable developers globally to easily tap into robust, programmable 5G networks to create next-gen apps.
Why are common standards important for 5G APIs?
Standardized APIs allow developers to write applications that work consistently across different 5G networks. This interoperability will help accelerate innovation and adoption of 5G apps.
What are some key monetization models for 5G APIs?
Carriers like Deutsche Telekom can charge developers subscription fees for API access. Enterprises can be charged based on usage and volume. Revenue sharing can enable new partnership models as well.
How quickly will 5G API tools and applications grow?
According to research firm STL Partners, the market for 5G network APIs could exceed $20 billion by 2028. This demonstrates the massive potential as carriers open network data to external developers.
Final Thoughts on the Future of 5G Network APIs
Ericsson’s acquisition of Vonage was a strategic play to own a world-class API platform that unlocks the potential of 5G networks. Their partnership with Deutsche Telekom synergistically combines software tools and infrastructure reach to spearhead 5G app innovation.
We are still in the early phases of exploring how ultra-fast, programmable 5G connectivity can transform business and society. But by collaborating to provide developer-friendly network APIs, Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom have positioned themselves at the forefront to capitalize on this opportunity.
Unfettered access to network capabilities will fuel creativity. 5G promises to take immersive experiences, real-time automation, intelligent devices and dynamic data to new heights. An open, unified API ecosystem will be the catalyst that powers the next wave of digital disruption across industries.
With robust security protocols and attractive revenue sharing models, Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom aim to make network APIs commercially viable at scale. If they succeed, they may define the foundations of how 5G unlocks value for consumers, enterprises and technology partners alike as the world embraces ubiquitous connectivity.