Blockchain technology offers great advantages for the telco sector, an ecosystem in which multiple and disparate organizations participate.
Blockchain allows the creation of a shared network where the data and information generated by each transaction between the different parties involved in a process remains immutable, while allowing each of them immediate access to truthful information.
Applying this technology comprehensively to many telco processes allows a new way of managing and accessing information that translates into greater efficiency and trust. Blockchain also offers an additional layer of privacy by allowing different participants in a process to securely access the same information.
The complexity of many business processes of the sector is the main reason why the market opportunity for blockchain in the telecommunications industry is expected to grow from the current $ 46.6 million to $ 993.8 million in 2023, according to a report by Research and Markets.
How to identify use cases of interest to telco?
They must be those in which this technology can contribute to improve the business and provide benefits. Your application should focus on achieving three objectives:
- Existing services: provide efficiency and simplicity to the relationships between the different actors, as well as automatisms that generate trust between them.
- To relaunch services that, for technical, economic or customer interaction reasons, were not successful and that now, thanks to blockchain, could be technically and economically feasible.
- Create new innovative services based on this technology from its conception, that taking advantage of all its advantages, develop new business models and provide new sources of income.
To take the step towards pilot or concept tests, three basic requirements must be given:
- Need to register a single transaction that serves as the sole proof of the truth for business processes between the parties.
- Need to improve trust among the actors involved (customer / supplier). This never hurts in any business …
- Need for rules of consensus among the actors that help resolve the two previous points and, at the same time, allow to increase transparency.
On this basis, from iComunity Labs we propose the following use cases around the international voice service (“roaming”), since it complies with the aforementioned conditions.
Fraud detection is a fundamental issue in the sector of communications service providers. According to sources such as GSMA, the cost of fraud for the industry exceeds $ 38 billion annually. Since to date there has been no way to combat large-scale this problem, the use of blockchain technology has been chosen.
A clear example of use is roaming. When a call is made from another country, all the data generated must be reconciled between the operator of the country of origin and the operator of the country of destination. However, at the time of billing, since there is no common database, there is a risk of fraud due to the asymmetry of the information. This problem would be solved if that information were stored in blockchain.
There is also the possibility of fraud in the customer identification processes of the operators. Mainly when several operators from different countries apply different compliance standards. With a unique identity management based on blockchain with which all operators had the same way to identify customers this type of fraud could decrease dramatically.
Billing process improvement
The current roaming settlement and compensation system is very slow, expensive and requires a lot of effort. Despite this, at the time of reconciliation there is always mistrust when it is time to determine the agreements and even fraud can occur, as I said before.
In this scenario, the use of “smart contracts” deployed in a blockchain network would allow all parties to reach agreements in real time, with the possible use of a token system for payments between them.
How smart contracts work
Logistics management of the equipment supply chain
In addition to the pure voice and data services of an operator, it makes sense to use blockchain to perform traceability and increase efficiency in the delivery of the equipment that the operator takes to the client’s home. It will reduce the number of transports, and the number of manufactured equipment, approaching the objective of just in time, without breaking deliveries or over stock.