Verizon jumpstarts APIs with Vonage collaboration

It’s been more than two years since Ericsson announced its intention to acquire Vonage for $6.2 billion and turn it into a 5G application powerhouse. Today Ericsson’s plan for Vonage just took step forward with Verizon’s announcement that it will collaborate with Vonage and make its network APIs available on the Vonage Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS). In addition, the two companies will work together to create new APIs.

The partnership is not exclusive and Verizon said that while its collaboration with Vonage is key to making its network APIs accessible to a greater number of developers, it also will work with other aggregators and hyperscalers and will make its APIs available through its own API portal.

Besides Ericsson’s Vonage, Nokia is also working on open APIs with its Network as a Code platform that it launched last September and Dish Network has said it will use Nokia’s platform to expose its network APIs to developers.

Verizon SVP of Product and Technology Srini Kalapala said that the reason Verizon wanted to collaborate with Vonage is because it needed a partner that understands the network and is also willing to be a marketplace creator.  Kalapala added that Verizon believes that Vonage will be instrumental in making sure that the network APIs can achieve global capability, which is necessary for attracting enterprise customers. “The nature of this business is global,” he said.

Vonage is able to “speak the language” that developers understand, Kalapala said, and that makes it easier for developers to work with telecom operators.

Open APIs are important for attracting enterprise customers, particularly financial institutions that want to guarantee that both the bank and its customers are protected from fraud. However, open APIs will also be beneficial to consumers and will likely be used to create new applications for devices such as the Apple Vision Pro.

Verizon and Vonage declined to reveal the specific APIs that will be available on the platform first, but Verizon said that its current API portfolio covers a broad array of functional areas, including network authenticated security, SIM and device management, network traffic prediction, quality management and edge site selection and routing. Verizon said by using a combination of these APIs, developers will be able to create applications for multiple industries such as fraud prevention for mobile banking or digital retailing.

As far as where Vonage and Verizon will focus their attention when it comes to creating new APIs, Verizon declined to provide specifics but said the companies will be focusing on APIs that improve customer security and customer service, as well as create new customer experiences.

Kalapala said that while open APIs are not necessary for 5G network slicing, which is where operators are able to dedicate a “slice” of the network to match the network performance requirements for a specific application, open APIs do provide new capabilities that may impact how slicing will be used.

In addition to its collaboration with Vonage, Verizon also is working with various industry standards bodies including the GSMA’s Open Gateway API program, the Linux Foundation’s CAMARA open source project, 5G Future Forum and TM Forum.

Vonage endorsement
Verizon’s collaboration with Vonage comes at an opportune time for Ericsson. Last October Ericsson took an impairment charge of $2.92 billion for its 2022 acquisition of Vonage and the company has been hoping its investment in the company will pay off. The impairment write-down was almost half the value Ericsson paid for Vonage.

In addition, earlier this month Ericsson appointed Niklas Heuveldop, previously SVP and head of Market Area North America, as Vonage’s new CEO.