OneAPI is a global GSMA initiative to provide application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable applications to exploit mobile network capabilities such as messaging, authentication, payments and location-finding with a cross-operator reach.The GSMA OneAPI Exchange is the GSMA enabling service for operators to federate between their individual APIs to deliver cross-operator reach. Major operators, such as AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Vodafone, Rogers, Bell Canada and TELUS, are working with the OneAPI initiative to expose network APIs through their developer programmes.
GSMA OneAPI Exchange: How does it work?
OneAPI for Operators:
Network APIs and their benefits Exposing network capabilities to developers via API's will bring significant benefits to mobile operators. The benefits depend on the specific market situation and strategic setup of each individual operator; they range from short-term financial benefits (wholesale and retail revenues) to long-term strengthening of the operators’ position in the value chain. Information on business models can be found in the GSMA white paper Business Models for Network APIs.
Application providers, ranging from the small standalone developer to the multinational industry player, are aiming to offer their services to as broad an audience as possible. However, the reach of the APIs provided by a single mobile operator is restricted to its own subscribers, meaning that to be able to use network capabilities for the whole of its addressable customer base, the application provider would need to integrate with every single operator in its target region.Certain providers of “Over the Top Services” and aggregators currently already do offer telecommunication capabilities with a broad regional reach. Though, those services often are of inferior quality, restrict direct contact between operators and the developer ecosystem, and absorb a large share of the value created.
The GSMA OneAPI Exchange: Reach and Flexibility
The GSMA OneAPI Exchange will serve to bridge the gap between application providers’ needs and operators’ capabilities through cross-operator cooperation: It will provide the required cross-operator capability while preserving the flexibility of individual operators to directly address its developer base, innovate on APIs in a fast and market-oriented manner, and differentiate in the market place.
A consistent, simple and cross-operator offer of network APIs to developers will strengthen mobile operators’ overall portfolio, preserve their foothold as relevant players in the internet economy, and allow them to harvest the opportunities provided by recent developments in the App Economy. To achieve this, it is vital that operators:
- Join forces, where necessary, to mitigate their natural disadvantage compared to network-independent third parties: the provision of global reach
- Differentiate, where possible, to preserve competition, speed and innovation power in the API space
Current status and ways to participate
Operator implementation of the GSMA OneAPI Exchange
The OneAPI Exchange solution provides federation of APIs for operators that are running their own API gateways. Due to the flexible nature of the Exchange, participating operators can either expose APIs standardised to the OneAPI Specification, or their individual Custom APIs. For further, detailed explanation of Exchange structure, please view the white paper GSMA One API Exchange Architecture for cross-operator network APIs.As of November 2013, 4 major operator groups (AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, and Vodafone) are participating in the OneAPI’s Exchange solution.
GSMA OneAPI Gateway Solution
In addition to the Exchange solution, the GSMA OneAPI Gateway was commercially launched in Canada in 2012. The GSMA OneAPI Gateway is a hosted platform that helps operators without their own gateway to expose their assets to developers via APIs. It currently involves 3 Canadian operator, Rogers, Bell Mobility and TELUS, which serve 93% of Canadian mobile users. Currently, a range of further international operators are connecting to this platform. The platform is integrating with the GSMA OneAPI Exchange and will offer a further option for operators to expose APIs with a cross-operator reach.
GSMA OneAPI Specifications
For the federation of APIs across operators, the GSMA OneAPI Exchange uses certain Standardised APIs. Participating operators can also expose those Standard APIs to developers directly or use their own, Custom APIs and mediate those to the Standard APIs for federation via the Exchange. GSMA Standard APIs are also exposed to developers by the GSMA OneAPI Gateway.
Operators which do not want to spend resources on developing their own APIs can benefit from the API specifications provided by GSMA. The specifications also provide valuable benchmarks and stimulations for operators who will innovate and differentiate in the market place by providing their own, custom APIs.