February 6, 2023

Can CSPs Speed Up 5G Monetization With a Low-Code-Based Application Platform Approach?

Authored by Shobhit Mathur, Sr. Director and Category Head BFS, WaveMaker, Inc

It is said that 5G is 100 times faster than 4G. An astronomical increase, indeed. Yet, for enterprises, ‘speed’ is not the most significant paradigm shift that accompanies 5G.

The most significant shifts are the ancillary capabilities enabled by the high speed that 5G provides—edge computing, ultra-low latency, massive network capacity, reduced power consumption for devices, stronger security, private networks, and more.

The advent of 5G is a massive opportunity for Communication Service Providers (CSPs) to move up the value chain, from being providers of undifferentiated connectivity to providing platforms and domain-specific solutions for SMBs and enterprises.

Armed with know-how, CSPs are best suited to cater to the demands of network services that enterprises would require. However, to see profitability, CSPs need customers to buy solutions that are built on top of these capabilities. They need to offer a broad spectrum of functional solutions for use cases that go beyond connectivity and communications.

The way forward for CSPs

Enterprises are keen to provide superior customer experiences over the speed that 5G provides while CSPs have the imperative to cater to these very demands and stay in the competition. Instead of being dependent on external vendors, CSPs, understandably, are looking to take control of the customer experience systems.

To bring this to fruition, they would want to build a layer of services over the existing systems like Business Support Systems (BSS) and Operation Support Systems (OSS). In the future, CSPs might select API providers for implementing backend functionalities, but would most likely be self-reliant when it comes to building apps over them.

Yet, as proven across industries, paradigm shifts and opportunities of such magnitude, always need a holistic and fresh approach.

Three things CSPs need to meet customer expectations

CSPs, thus, can take a holistic approach to application development by adopting a multi-layered platform approach, rather than a short-sighted rapid launch of use case-specific apps.

Three strategic layers that CSPs can leverage over their existing infrastructure are

#1 A Functional API Plane: Typical application stacks at CSPs include both BSS and OSS. The BSS provides the bare-bones customer experience layer to attract, convert, service, and bill a customer. To elevate the customer experience CSPs could take the following steps:

  • CSPs could make a conscious decision not to add more functionality to the existing BSS. They would be better served by deploying new API-based solutions for the new use cases.
  • They can decouple the UX from the BSS by adopting a micro-services-based approach by modernizing and cloud-enabling the existing BSS or implementing a new BSS altogether.

#2 A Digital Experience Hub: A Digital Experience Hub (DEH) built over the API layer can decouple the UX from the functional systems. The DEH can act as a unified API layer over core systems (BSS & OSS) as well as the new use case-centric functional systems.

#3 A Digital Experience Layer: Incumbent CSPs can adopt a next-gen, digital-first approach for delivering a customized and personalized omnichannel experience to customers with the help of a layered platform-based approach. This Digital Experience Layer built on top of the DEH will have componentized telecom-based experiences. This is where low-code can act as the crucial last layer of experience development.

A multi-layered platform for app development is a strategic choice for telcos and enterprises. Yet, a big-bang approach to modernization is not advisable. The stakes are too high when there is an imminent risk of disruption. Instead, CSPs are well advised to adopt an iterative and phased approach to modernization.

In this context, the potent combination of composability, co-existence, and a low-code platform may be the perfect antidote to the modernization conundrum.


Composability + co-existence + low-code: a potent combination

Incumbent CSPs need to reinvent the wheel with modern, cloud-native, omnichannel applications to gain traction and prepare themselves for the 5G era. But, the use case by use case approach, or traditional development methodologies will make it difficult to provide the acceleration that they need.

What CSPs need is a foundational platform for the UX layer that can:

  • Accelerate the rollout of cutting-edge modern UX faster, without changing the existing engineering practices, toolsets, and teams.
  • Leverage existing as well as new infrastructure - (apps as well as APIs). CSPs do not have the liberty to wait for backend modernization for new systems to be launched. Nor do they have visibility on all the new use cases that they want to address. Hence the co-existence of old and new in this transformation journey is critical.
  • Help in building an open and extensible platform rather than just customer apps. The composability approach is critical to the platformification of the UX layer. Furthermore, it optimizes the development effort by enabling reuse across use cases and apps.


From apps to Experience-as-a-Service platforms with low-code

An Experience-as-a-Service paradigm can be built by layering purpose-built stacks on one another.

Creating an integration layer enables enterprises to orchestrate experiences from different vendors and internal APIs. These APIs are combined cohesively to create experience APIs that bring the best-of-breed services together and give the customer a unified experience.

Componentized and configurable low-code platforms can then be leveraged to create an Experience-as-a-Service layer on top of these assets.

Components (bundled with logic, data, and UI) that represent entire user journeys can be built into a configurable platform to provide better control to business users and allow them to innovate better. These components in turn can be reused and rehashed for any use case, app, or channel across the enterprise landscape.



On another note, CSPs are well aware that the skill shortage crisis is real. Either they do not have enough hands or do not possess the bandwidth to acquire the talent they need. Low-code platforms are great enablers in this context. Developers with diverse or even legacy skill sets can onboard and adopt low-code platforms and take advantage of full-stack technologies in minimum time.

With features like pre-built components, faster onboarding, a lower learning curve, flexible customization, and easy configuration, composable low-code are slated to become an enterprise-wide app development strategy.

With low-code, enterprises and telcos will go to market faster, be it through ideation, testing the market with PoCs or MVPs, or performing quick customizations to meet large customer-specific needs.



CSPs have the knowledge and know-how in the telecom industry. This gives them a unique perspective and a special seat at the table when discussing the impact of 5G. It also provides them the opportunity to pivot from being network providers to transforming into facilitators of 5G ecosystems.

To compete well with software providers, CSPs need to provide differentiated experiences at speed, which requires a paradigm shift in software development. Traditional approaches to development take time and the opportunity cost of losing out to nimbler competition is really high.

On the other hand, low code is an ideal tool to tackle the skill shortage and acceleration problem. It would be prudent to adopt a composable low-code platform that can allow them to leverage their expertise and develop experiences fast. Doing so will enable them to monetize their investment in 5G with speed and scale.

Originally published in The Fast Mode