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Network as a Platform: Catching the API Wave

  • October 2013
  • -
  • Frost & Sullivan
  • -
  • 2 pages

A majority of mobile data services consumed on smartphones and connected tablets is currently provided by over-the-top (OTT) service providers, which means that a significant amount of value in the mobile data value chain may bypass telecom service providers. Therefore, mobile operators are increasingly leveraging network application programming interfaces (API) to collaborate with third-party applications developers on innovative applications to avoid this disintermediation.

Overview

Penetration of smartphones and connected tablets continues to increase rapidly in the United States. Frost & Sullivan forecasts suggest that over percent of the US population will own a smartphone by 2018. Advancements in network and device technologies, coupled with the proliferation of sophisticated consumer and enterprise mobile applications, continue to aggressively drive data usage on mobile devices. An average smartphone user in the United States now consumes nearly 2 GB of cellular data every month and spends upwards of minutes on his or her mobile phone every day. With smartphones and tablets gradually becoming the primary devices for content creation and consumption, a "mobile first" approach has become the center-piece of many leading businesses' competitive strategies. However, the majority of mobile data services consumed on smartphones and connected tablets is currently provided by over-the-top (OTT) service providers, which means that a significant amount of value in the mobile data value chain may bypass telecom service providers. Therefore, mobile operators are increasingly leveraging network application programming interfaces (API) to collaborate with third-party applications developers on innovative applications to avoid this disintermediation.

Trends in API Adoption

Network-initiated/network-supported APIs allow application developers to embed advanced, network-supported functionality within mobile applications. They also help to reduce cost of application development and support. This helps to drive adoption of network APIs. Frost & Sullivan's research indicates that a wide range of next-generation mobile services— including mobile advertising, mobile commerce, mobile messaging, location-based (and location- enhanced) mobile services, and cloud-based content backup and transfer services—are expected to use network APIs for web and native applications. Tens of billions of API calls are already made by mobile applications every month in the United States, and Frost & Sullivan anticipates the volume of API calls could soon approach - billion monthly calls in the United States.

Table Of Contents

Network as a Platform: Catching the API Wave
Table Of Contents

1 | NETWORK AS A PLATFORM: CATCHING THE API WAVE

Role of Application Programming Interfaces - APIs
1. Overview
2. Trends in API Adoption
3. API Roadmap
4. Conclusion

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