To figure out which APIs are most likely to be successful, keep an eye on which ones are being smartly monetized.

February 16, 2024

4 Min Read

Scaling − with Revenue as a Forethought

Large organizations from banks and utility companies to government departments are rife with stories about “revenue leakage”. Small amounts of under-charging or inconsistent charging for events when scaled up can result in billions of dollars of missed revenue. The effects on staff can be devastating. It can be even more consequential in relation to new services.

With the development cycles of services becoming ever shorter − as witnessed with previously unimagined uptake of GenAI-related services − if they are not managed well from an early stage in terms of monetization, they can become more unmanageable than any out-of-control garden.  

Complexity and Possibility

As 5G standalone (SA) emerges, a new set of dimensions (or “currencies”) have become available for service providers to monetize – especially related to: latency, speed, coverage, capacity and densification. These features are being combined by service providers or partners, including cloud partners, device manufacturers and entertainment companies, to become elements of promising services such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Service providers engaging with this increasingly complex tapestry of B2B2X participants need to ensure that they continue to have control and that charging is tightly interwoven from the outset.

Being cloud-based, 5G is more flexible as well as more complex than 4G. Essentially any feature or capability from user geolocation and identification to fuller network slicing can now be combined and wrapped efficiently in an API (Application Programming Interface) for potential partner usage. 5G’s cloud flexibility and scalability bring the risk however that errors grow exponentially. With service proliferation as well as risk potential in the context of cloud-based 5G, how should APIs be prioritized and managed?

Long before 5G, service providers sought to reach consensus around which APIs should be prioritized and made available to developer communities and partners. Various initiatives have been hyped. MWC 2023 saw the CAMARA initiative steal many of the event headlines. Time will tell whether it becomes dominant and fulfills expectations. More broadly, TM Forum and 3GPP amongst others have been defining wider sets of APIs.

Such industry initiatives typically don’t always consider aspects relating to commercialization or tailoring by specific operators for a particular market. At Amdocs therefore we prefer to allow “API agnosticism” combined with charging versatility as needed. We welcome and support these various industry API initiatives but also know that individual service providers will reserve the right to adapt to their specific market requirements and opportunities (Fig.1).

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Fig.1: Charging for Any API and Any Service

Charging as the API Value Focal Point and Prioritization Mechanism

Charging – often taken for granted in the past, as the last part of the value chain – is becoming essential in terms of API prioritization for several reasons:

  • Expectations of shortened lead-times for services to generate cash mean that charging must work efficiently earlier on and becomes important from the outset of new services.

  • The old adage “if it cannot be charged for it’s not worth doing” still significantly applies. Even in relation to business models such as “try before you buy” (or “freemium”) charging has a critical and even more nuanced role in terms of usage management, service evolution, multi-party participation and prioritization.

  • Many of the emerging APIs already require charging to play an integral role as part of innovation. These include hybrid charging models (consider peak versus off-peak models for massive volumes of data); charging based on activation of a service rather than data volume (think of critical IoT devices such as fire alarms); charging based on success rather than access (perhaps for first responders who need spontaneous and reliable video communications for a variable duration or medical devices that need updates with the latest software patches).

  • Charging has already had to adapt dramatically for 5G. In doing so it has led the way by providing velocity, scale and versatility to service providers, working closely with 5G policy control especially (providing combinational PCC value) and with other 5G functions. As an essential element for servicing any API, it provides mature and purposeful centrality of API control.

Developer Opportunities and Evolving Value

As API opportunities rapidly emerge, charging can keep pace and become even more embedded as necessary. To do so will also require increased AI considerations. Advanced charging serves to rank, prioritize and life-cycle services and partners proactively. For some successful providers, charging is already providing a means of such control. With charging providing the lens on expanding service possibilities it puts service providers at the center of an accelerating value-led ecosystem and provides a critical focal point for prioritized innovation.

To learn more about the velocity, scalability and versatility of Amdocs Charging visit the Amdocs website.

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