Just ahead of Mobile World Congress, it appears that major operators are starting to move into the 5G application programming interface field.

Verizon has said it will use Ericsson’s Vonage API platform to unlock its network to developers. This is a win for Ericsson, which spent $6 billion to acquire Vonage.

Verizon said it will collaborate with Vonage and make its network APIs available on the Vonage Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS). The companies will also work together to create new APIs.

The operator said it has already been offering APIs for “several years,” however the Vonage deal will enable the companies to broaden the reach of Verizon’s network capabilities to enterprise develops and more.

neXt Curve analyst Leonard Lee said that he regards Vonage as a network service broker. “In terms of developers engaged with their platform, they are one of the current leaders,” Lee told us in an email.  He cautions, however, that “it is too early to determine who is really a leader and what ‘leadership’ means in this game.”

Even so, Lee said that Nokia is following Ericsson in respect to 5G APIs. “At MWC Las Vegas, Nokia announced their Network as Code (NaC) offering that closely mirrors what Ericsson and Vonage have proposed for their Global Network Platform more than a year ago,” Lee told us.

Nokia announced recently that it has developed a mechanism to manage and bill for Open Gateway APIs with its NaC platform. The Ericsson platform, as well as Nokia’s NaC, will handle all the API management and charging, allowing developers to simply plug into an operator’s network.

Through the partnership with Verizon, Lee said that ,“Vonage will be leveraging their application-level APIs that will interface with lower level network service APIs that are part of GNP. This should allow Vonage developers to quickly leverage any global or regional network functions for the applications they build and maintain.”

Meanwhile, according to the GSMA, 39 operator groups representing 228 networks now support its Open Gateway initiative. Supportive vendors include AWS, Ericsson, Microsoft Azure, Nokia, Infobip and more.

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