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Cu Highlights Importance of Open APIs at 2024 MWC Shanghai

Ernest Cu, Globe President and CEO, at the 2024 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Shanghai.

PHOTO 1: Ernest Cu, Globe President and CEO, underscored the importance of Open APIs in a panel discussion at the recently concluded 2024 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Shanghai.

Open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are critical in advancing digital solutions that will fuel growth and innovation, Ernest Cu, Globe President and CEO, said in a panel discussion at the 2024 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Shanghai. 

 

The session explored GSMA's Open Gateway, which aims to accelerate the growth of digital services and applications through seamless integration of standard and common APIs. It was moderated by GSMA Director General Mats Granryd and featured Cu and Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya, CEO of Telecoms Business and Group EVP at Axiata Group. 

 

"We've been an advocate of open APIs for some time, although it’s not a federated group type of API. We started that initiative maybe even eight years ago. We had bilateral types of APIs that we made available through a subsidiary called Globe Labs. We're a firm believer in that and a big supporter,” Cu said.

 

He emphasized the relevance of open APIs for emerging markets such as the Philippines, especially in identity verification. 

 

"Our country’s National ID system is not yet complete. It's in the works, but the challenges are immense right in that area, including fraud, scams, phishing, and many others. I think a lot of it will be solved if we’re able to provide a secure identity type of validation using the SIM,” said Cu.

 

Globe recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the GSMA, granting it access to the GSMA Open Gateway. This initiative, involving mobile network operators worldwide, aims to develop Mobile Network Open Applications Programming Interfaces (APIs) using a common set of open-source APIs that can be reused for different purposes.

 

GSMA Open Gateway launched with eight network APIs, enabling capabilities ranging from enhanced security and fraud prevention to secure authentication and location-based services. 

 

When asked about the potential $300 billion opportunity for Open Gateway initiatives predicted by global management consulting firm McKinsey, Cu expressed cautious optimism. 

 

While uncertain about the exact figure for emerging markets, he noted the significance of monetizing telco assets such as APIs to maintain growth. Globe has already seen success in monetizing its finTech and telco data into a fintech score, and extending this to APIs and services is a logical next step.

 

The Globe CEO pointed out his company’s unique position as both a telecom provider and a leader in financial technology through GCash, the country’s number one finance super app. This creates a wealth of information and services that could be shared and developed through open-source APIs on top of what Globe already has.

 

Addressing vital factors for the success of the GSMA Open Gateway, Cu stressed that security is paramount. 

 

"A big spoiler for me would be security. Anytime you're exposing anything that has access to a vast trove of information on the back end, it's critical that we implement proper cybersecurity controls around the different APIs. Only one leakage will destroy it for all of us and have operators retreating from implementation or even joining the consortium,” he warned.

 

As the telco industry continues to evolve, Cu's insights underscore the importance of collaboration, innovation, and security in shaping the future of digital services and applications.

 

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