In a move to address the rising incidents of digital fraud, South African telecoms operators Cell C, MTN, and Telkom have introduced two universal network application programming interfaces (APIs) as part of the GSMA’s Open Gateway initiative.

The GSMA’s Open Gateway initiative involves 21 leading international operators signed up to work together alongside hyperscaler heavyweights Amazon and Microsoft to build a framework for universal open APIs into carrier networks, providing developers with access to network functions tied to location, identity verification, billing and edge computing resources, among other operations.

The APIs introduced by the South African telecoms operators, focused on Number Verification and SIM Swap, are set to play a key role in enhancing digital security and protecting the 47 million mobile subscribers in the country.

The launch of these APIs coincides with the beginning of Mobile World Congress 2024, on 26 February, and is part of a global effort to standardise and enhance digital security measures.

The South African banking sector witnessed a 24% surge in reported digital banking fraud incidents in 2022, as revealed by a report from the South African Banking Risk Information Centre.

Cybercriminals managed to steal over $38m (R740m) through various frauds, primarily targeting banking applications and online banking.

The standardisation of APIs by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) provides a promising solution to mitigate such threats.

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Leveraging their infrastructure and expertise, MNOs can enhance security within digital platforms and implement robust fraud detection and prevention mechanisms.

The new APIs will have wide-ranging applications in vital sectors such as banking, finance, insurance, and retail.