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How the Mobile App Economy is Fueled by Developers

Mobile internet application developer ecosystems are an enabler of new business models. They are the essential catalyst for growth, as subscriber traffic for mobile broadband services and associated internet access reaches a 36 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the near future. This growth is good news for telecom network operators and over-the-top (OTT) application providers which are continuously looking to keep subscribers happy and provide a better user performance -- in spite of network congestion.

All of which has the potential to increase revenue for network operators and OTT providers within the $1 trillion global mobile services marketplace. In order to prosper in this rapidly evolving market, ABI Research believes telecom service providers must focus their attention on securely exposing services internally and to external partners and their applications. Turning network services into resources that are easily accessed via the application programming interface (API) is the future for all enterprises, including mobile service providers.

In order to be successful in API initiatives, telcos need to consider developers as value added application resellers, and therefore the business models of telco APIs must align with the business models of mobile software developers.

It is important for operators to develop a successful API strategy that can provide telcos with the possibilities to attract new customers, cherish existing ones, increase operational efficiency and boost innovation. "Carriers worldwide recognize, that by collaborating with partners, using APIs can be applied to generate new sources of revenue, to drive innovation, increase competitiveness, and retain and attain new customers," said Sabir Rafiq, analyst at ABI Research.

Companies who release their API often do so as part of a larger software development kit (SDK) that includes the API, and programming tools that will help the developer. Mobile operators such as AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Vodafone, and Infrastructure vendors such as Ericsson, Huawei, Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, and Nokia open up APIs for developers to use and create features that make their applications more favorable in return.

Developers are also keen on using operator APIs, such as handling billing for the developers, which ultimately reduces the costs of development and delivers a better service.

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