APIs in the Telecom Sector in 2024: Top 5 Benefits & an Example

Hi there! As a data analyst and AI consultant specializing in the telecom industry, I wanted to share my insights on a key technology trend – the rise of APIs in telecommunications. In this guide, I‘ll explain the top 5 benefits of adopting APIs in 2024 with relevant examples and data.

First though, let‘s quickly summarize what this article covers:

I‘ll be focusing on why application programming interfaces (APIs) are becoming critical for telecom companies to remain competitive. We‘ll explore 5 key benefits of APIs – new revenue streams, better customer experiences, partner monetization, operational agility and future-proof architecture. I‘ll support the analysis with statistics, use cases and a detailed API success story from Saudi Telecom Company. My goal is to provide a comprehensive overview of how telecom carriers can leverage APIs in 2024 to achieve digital transformation.

Alright, let‘s dive in!

  1. New Revenue Streams from API Monetization

Exposing network capabilities via APIs allows telecoms new monetization opportunities. Major carriers like AT&T, Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica already charge developers to access their APIs.

According to a survey by TM Forum, top-performing telecoms generate over 25% of revenues from API monetization strategies:

[Insert table comparing revenue sources between top and low performers]

With robust API testing, telecom APIs can become profitable products through:

  • Usage-based pricing – Pay per API call or data volume consumed
  • Tiered subscription plans for different access levels
  • White-label partnerships – Revenue share from value-added services built on top of the APIs

Let‘s look at two examples:

AT&T‘s Speech API enables developers to integrate speech recognition into their apps. Pricing is based on monthly active users, starting at $0.004 per MAU.

Singtel‘s Location Based Services API lets developers build geo-location apps. It offers both metered and unmetered pricing plans.

The key is ensuring APIs are secure, available and performant before monetization. Rigorous API testing is a must – I‘d recommend prioritizing functional testing, load testing and security testing.

This will prevent any bugs or downtime from disrupting the end-user experience. Tools like Postman, JMeter and Testifi PULSE can automate API testing to reduce the effort by up to 50%.

  1. Creating Differentiated Customer Experiences

APIs allow telecom companies to rapidly integrate emerging technologies – like AI, IoT, cloud and 5G – to differentiate the customer experience:

  • Chatbot APIs enable conversational AI integration for 24/7 automated support. This reduces call center costs by up to 30%, while providing personalized recommendations.
  • IoT APIs help connect and manage remote network assets like base stations and towers. This enables predictive maintenance and reduces field trips by up to 20%.
  • Cloud APIs help quickly launch digital offerings by leveraging the elasticity and agility of cloud infrastructure. Vodafone found that launching a new product took just 5 weeks with Cloud APIs compared to 5 months traditionally.
  • 5G APIs will allow partners to build innovative applications leveraging high bandwidth and low latency. Think smart factories, cloud gaming and augmented reality.

In a survey by Accenture, 89% of telecom leadership see 5G API partnerships as key to unlocking new revenue streams.

  1. New B2B Revenue Streams from Enterprise Partnerships

APIs allow telecom companies to securely expose core network capabilities – like messaging, voice, video and infrastructure – to enterprise partners.

This enables partners to embed telco services within their own products and solutions. For example:

  • Banks can incorporate telecom messaging directly within their mobile apps via RCS APIs
  • Gaming/media companies can integrate telco voice & video services using WebRTC APIs for enhanced user engagement
  • Cloud providers can offer value-added network infrastructure like private 5G using telecom APIs

Such partnerships create a win-win – expanded reach for telecoms and compelling new features for partners. They also open up lucrative new B2B revenue streams beyond consumer mobile services.

According to Juniper Research, operator API partnerships will drive $497 billion in additional revenues globally between 2022-2027.

Here are examples of enterprise API partnerships:

  • Vodafone partnered with Google Cloud to offer private 5G networks to enterprises using dedicated APIs
  • China Mobile created an IoT platform to allow enterprise customers to manage connected devices using IoT APIs
  • AT&T partnered with Apigee to launch an API marketplace with telco APIs tailored for enterprises
  1. Achieving Operational Agility

APIs enable telecom infrastructure and systems to interoperate quickly, securely and at scale. This brings new efficiencies and cost savings:

  • Rapid integration between previously siloed systems – APIs enable a modular ‘building block‘ approach
  • Real-time data synchronization across domains – APIs facilitate open data sharing between systems
  • Automation of repetitive manual processes – APIs enable seamless machine-to-machine workflows

As a result, telecoms can accelerate speed of innovation and time-to-market while optimizing costs. McKinsey estimates that a telecom API platform can reduce IT costs by up to 30%.

Here are some examples:

  • China Mobile uses APIs for real-time data exchange between its customer relationship management (CRM) and billing systems
  • Rakuten Mobile built its entire greenfield 4G and 5G network in Japan with a highly automated, API-driven architecture
  • Singapore‘s Circles.Life launched an API-based ‘Software-as-a-Network‘ model – slashing time to launch new services from months to weeks
  1. Future-Proofing Systems with Modular Architecture

Well-designed APIs decouple the applications consuming them from the underlying infrastructure. This makes the architecture highly reusable and modular.

Upgrades to networks or IT systems require minimal changes to the APIs. New capabilities can be easily exposed through new APIs. This future-proofs the technology stack for rapid evolution:

  • Launch cutting-edge developer-focused products via developer portal and sandbox
  • Ingest emerging datasets like 5G network logs using standard APIs like gRPC/Protobuf
  • Support any devices like public cloud, private cloud or edge compute using Kubernetes APIs
  • Connect innovative new business support systems (BSS) or operations support systems (OSS) via REST APIs

Leading operators like Jio Platforms and BT have adopted API-first strategies for all their systems. This will be a key enabler as networks evolve from 4G to 5G.

Case Study: Saudi Telecom Company (STC)

Let‘s look at how Saudi Telecom Company (STC) leveraged APIs as part of their digital transformation:

STC adopted a comprehensive API strategy to avoid point-to-point integration between its systems and partners. This enabled:

  • Faster onboarding of partners by reusing APIs across multiple external developers
  • Launch of direct carrier billing allowing customers to pay for 3rd party services via their STC bill. This attracted major partners like Netflix, Apple and Microsoft.
  • Creation of a payments API marketplace for fintech partners to build value-added services

Apigee‘s API management platform helped STC handle growing API traffic while ensuring scalability, security and analytics.


  • 50+ APIs launched with about half externally facing to partners
  • API traffic increased 36X YoY as adoption grew
  • $13 million in additional revenues generated as of mid-2021

STC‘s API journey enabled them to compete in the digital marketplace through agile partnerships and new monetization.

Key Takeaways

To summarize, adopting APIs can be a key enabler as telecom carriers transform digitally – allowing them to unlock new revenue streams, enhance customer experiences, pursue enterprise partnerships, gain operational agility and future-proof their architecture.

Telecom APIs will be a $497 billion market by 2027 per Juniper Research. With a well-planned API strategy, telecoms can remain competitive and meet evolving customer demands in 2024 and beyond.

Hope this guide gave you a good overview of the benefits of APIs specifically in the telecom industry. Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to chat more about APIs, emerging technologies and telecom trends.

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