Sweden’s Ericsson said on Wednesday that it partnered with Deutsche Telekom to offer software tools for developers and business customers, allowing telecom operators to get more revenue from 5G. The new software will help developers create utterly new use cases based on a mobile network, known as network application programming interface, or API.
The partners described their work as “a critical step in making it possible for developers to build applications that really drive value on a mobile network.” That’s a crucial piece of the puzzle, given consumers and businesses’ relatively slow adoption of 5G. The partners have also been working together in a few other areas, including equipping industrial plants with their own private mobile networks, dubbed campus networks.
Using the Vonage platform with over 120,000 customers and 1 million developers will allow Ericsson to expand its footprint in the fast-growing communications-platform-as-a-service, or CPaaS, market. CPaaS provides voice, video, and messaging services over existing business software.
The companies also plan to provide an API that enables developers to use various features provided by various mobile network vendors. That could be important because a developer may want to use different APIs for each mobile network they’re developing on, depending on the performance they need. The software is expected to be available this year.
For Ericsson, which makes most of its profits from equipment sales, the deal will help to drive more service revenue growth from its 5G network investments. This is a crucial goal because data from leading 5G markets shows a strong correlation between subscriber penetration and revenue development.
Ericsson has been pushing hard into the burgeoning space for programmable networks to boost its revenue, which democratizes network capabilities by providing API-enabled communication services. Ericsson hopes its new software will spur developers to shift their focus from writing apps that send SMS reminders for dentist appointments, for example, to consuming 5G network slice and quality of service APIs. That’s a bold hope in the eyes of some analysts.