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Network Exposure - Enable 5G Innovation

Enable innovation with open network exposure

What are the exposure strategies among leading service providers?

Network exposure

Meet the requirements of new use cases and add value to your ecosystem with network and service exposure.

What is network exposure and why do you need it?

Network exposure, or service exposure within the network domain, means making network capabilities, such as data and network services, easily available for communication service providers and third parties. With assigned security and data integrity policies, network data and resources can be accessible for different ecosystems to enrich and innovate enterprise applications.

Network exposure is critical to achieve programmable networks that can communicate with all IoT (Internet of Things) devices, handle edge loads and introduce the requirements of new 5G use cases, for e.g. XR, smart manufacturing, automotive sectors and other business.

Network exposure and APIs in 5G

In 5G, service providers and enterprises can easily activate new capabilities and expose them through APIs, boosting the programmability and adaptability of connectivity services to fit different needs. API exposure in 5G, refers to the ability of developers and third-party applications to access and utilize the functionalities and services offered by the 5G network. It enables the creation of innovative applications, services, and solutions by leveraging the capabilities of the 5G infrastructure. 

Through well-defined and harmonized APIs, developers can interact with various aspects of the 5G ecosystem, such as network functions, data services, devices, and network slicing eventually with global reach. This allows for the development of diverse applications, ranging from IoT devices, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences, autonomous vehicles, and more. 

API exposure in 5G empowers developers to harness the immense potential of the network, driving innovation and enabling the seamless integration of 5G capabilities into various industries, including healthcare, transportation, entertainment, and beyond.

How operators' exposure enhance the user experience in real-time

Orange, Telefonica, and Vodafone, in collaboration with Ericsson and Vonage are demonstrating at MWC 2023 how advanced mobile network functionality can be exposed and made easily consumable by the global developer community. View the highlights of the collaboration in this video.

The demonstration shows how the telco industry is working with aggregators like Ericsson-Vonage to expose new network capabilities to application developers to enable a guaranteed premium connectivity based on 5G Stand-alone (SA) for e.g., high-definition interactive video in gaming and productivity applications for mobile devices.  Read more in this article.

How service providers can monetize 5G APIs

How to enable 5G API Exposure globally

Service providers can monetize their 5G investments through API exposure by offering their network capabilities and resources as a service to developers, enterprises, and other stakeholders. By exposing 5G APIs, service providers enable third parties to access and leverage the unique features of the 5G Standalone (5G SA) network to offer guaranteed premium connectivity for e.g. high-speed data, low latency, and massive device applications.

Through API exposure, service providers can create new revenue streams by charging for API usage, data consumption, or offering premium services with enhanced features. They can also enter partnerships with developers and enterprises, sharing revenue, generated from innovative applications and services built on top of their 5G infrastructure. 

Additionally, API exposure in 5G, opens opportunities for service providers to offer new value-added services thanks to 5G SA, such as network slicing, edge computing, and IoT connectivity, further expanding their revenue potential. By embracing an API-centric approach, service providers can transform their 5G SA investments into profitable business models while fostering innovation and collaboration within the ecosystem.

5G API exposure and network slicing open up new ways to monetize 5G either as a service enabler or an application developer.

Illustration of how to monetize 5G APIs

CSP - Communication Service Providers

Network exposure as part of the overall 5G exposure

Illustration how 5G APIs fits with Network Exposure

5G API Exposure

Overall API exposure in 5G encompasses a broader concept that includes not only network-specific APIs but also various other APIs and interfaces exposed by different components within the 5G ecosystem. It includes APIs related to network functions, devices, applications, services, and platforms. Overall API exposure aims to provide developers with a comprehensive set of APIs that cover a wide range of functionalities and services, allowing them to create diverse applications and services that leverage multiple aspects of the 5G ecosystem. 

Network Exposure

Network exposure in 5G involves exposing specific network functionalities, interfaces, on a granular level from many network functions. This comes from standardization in 3GPP and TMforum and we have the network exposure function (NEF) and more, as result of that. Those APIs are not suited for most application developers without a deep knowledge about the telecom network. Therefore there is a layer between to translate to service APIs to be exposed to enterprise app developers. 

Service Exposure

The service APIs form a consolidated abstraction layer between applications and Network Capabilities or BSS & OSS capabilities. They are exposed by service providers for external consumption by enterprises, app developers and partners that deliver a high abstraction level and are tailored for dedicated usage scenarios.  

In doing so, they simplify their usage in the developer community. In addition, they protect business critical assets of the service provider and its business partner and limit the vulnerability of the system which exposes the APIs.

A fast growing industry alliance called CAMARA has been formed as an open source project within Linux Foundation to define, develop and test the APIs. CAMARA work with the GSMA Operator Platform Group to align API requirements and publish API definitions and API documentation for developers. 

This will make applications globally available. Most leading service providers, vendors and HCPs are already members. 

The service APIs sit on top of internal IT and network functions, which are inside the network perceived as black box. 

Device exposure  

5G enabled devices like mobiles etc can make use of network APIs for certain applications. An example could be a speed boost function to be invoked by the mobile to enable a higher speed connectivity tier.


Global reach for applications 

App developers often seek to provide the applications for a global market and therefore there will be aggregators like Vonage and HCPs who can facilitate a single interface to the app developers and enable a multi-service providers/multi-country reach. 

The service provider's journey to API exposure

Woman futuring the vision

Participating in a successful partner ecosystem is the best way to seize exposure opportunities that are emerging alongside the programmable telecom network. To ensure convenient and secure access, Ericsson Network and Service exposure solutions provide standardized APIs besides Ericsson’s innovative APIs to expose a service provider’s key 4G and 5G core network capabilities to their ecosystem partners.

To provide these capabilities, Ericsson has mainly three products within its network exposure portfolio:

  1. Cloud Core Exposure Server (CCES)
  2. Secure Entitlement Server (SES)
  3. Ericsson Network Location (ENL)

The full portfolio provides an to enable exposure in multiple dimensions such as networks, services, and devices. 

In this blog post, How to monetize and maximize revenue growth with exposure services, you will learn more how Ericsson's solutions support the opportunities with API exposure.

Network exposure use cases

Drone use cases

In the short demo video we show how you as service provider can expose a suite of easy-to-use APIs that are able to address specific needs and facilitate the improvement of remote management activities for connected drones.

Pilot cases we have done with our customers:

Ericsson and TDC NET in Denmark, jointly conducted a pilot test for connected drones. Read the use case, Network exposure APIs in 5G expand connected drone capabilities, which describe how to dynamically boost drone quality of services. 

Ericsson and Vodafone in Germany, have together been testing Beyond Visual Line of Sight drone operations at a live test site in Aldenhoven, Germany. Read more about the case in the blog post, The challenges of taking drones over the hoizon

In the blog post, Network exposure and the case for connected drones, you can read more about how to get started with drone services.

A boy playing mobile game

Cloud gaming use case

Cloud gaming is a new way of consuming video games that is set to grow significantly in the next five year. At Mobile World Congress 2023 (MWC 2023), Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone, in collaboration with Ericsson and Vonage, demonstrated how advanced mobile network functionality can be exposed and made more easily consumable by the global developer community. One important use case was mobile cloud gaming in partnership with Blacknut, a world leading cloud gaming publisher.

In this use case report, Enable lag-free mobile cloud gaming globally via exposure of 5G network APIs, we explain:

  • Global API aggregator:  Using APIs for higher throughput to improve video QoS
  • What is required in the CSPs’ 5G network
  • How to operate and monetize the service

Cloud Core exposure

Ericsson Cloud Core Exposure Server is a cloud native core network exposure function in Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core offering. It is based on a full set of standard APIs for 4G and 5G networks and empowered by advanced capabilities for edge exposure.

Edge exposure

Ericsson Edge Exposure Server is a new component in Ericsson Cloud Core Exposure Server. It provides simplified and feature enrichment APIs for edge applications, such as user equipment information API, network QoS API and location API.