What wholesale carriers should consider before adopting an Inter-Carrier API strategy

Inter-carrier APIs are seen as a critical component for a wholesale business transformation, because they are deemed to be a key enabler for wholesale carriers to build and operate services across multiple partner networks in real- time. 

Carriers use APIs to automate communication with their customers and partners instead of relying on manual interactions based on emails and spreadsheets. APIs between operators can serve many different purposes, including:

  • Automating order placement
  • Streamlining feasibility and price checks
  • Replacing manual service assurance processes (monitoring, trouble ticketing)
  • Orchestrating network service provisioning across multiple service providers
  • Resolving issues in inter-carrier billing & settlement

Although Inter-provider APIs have been around for many years already, still many carriers are lagging with the adoption of the concept, mainly due to: 

  • Lack of readiness to become API-first and to redesign internal systems
  • Missing technical know-how, especially related to industry standards such as MEF LSO Sonata APIs
  • Lack of critical mass to create a compelling business case
  • APIfication requires a big financial investment
  • It takes time (2-6 months) to build and test API integration with each partner 

Before planning and adopting a wholesale API strategy, carriers should consider several factors:

  • Security & monitoring mechanisms to keep internal data safe and to track API consumption of individual users
  • Ease of onboarding to enable partner developers with self-service documentation & interactive guides helping them to connect 
  • Ability to support different API standards in case there will be partners who will have different expectations (this is especially important for smaller players who would frequently need the flexibility to adjust)
  • Keep external-facing APIs independent from B/OSS environment as a separate layer to maintain flexibility 
  • Vendor neutrality to avoid expensive future lock-ins 
  • Cost to run an API platform varies significantly ranging from expensive enterprise-grade full-blown API platforms to cost-effective open-source tools

At Enxoo, we are on a mission to help carriers embrace technology and use it to empower their business and people. We truly believe that APIs should not be exclusive to the big players. They should be available and easy to use for everyone.

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