Wednesday, 08 April 2020

Inter-operator blockchain could add a 'new layer of trust' to roaming agreements

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Friday 21 February 20

Four major operators, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, Orange, and T-Mobile US are jointly testing a new blockchain solution that could automate roaming workflow

When it comes to roaming, the inter-operator workflow has remained mostly unchanged for the past two decades, but a new blockchain solution could be about to change all that.   In partnership with the GSMA, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, Orange, and T-Mobile US, have created the first inter…

When it comes to roaming, the inter-operator workflow has remained mostly unchanged for the past two decades, but a new blockchain solution could be about to change all that.
 
In partnership with the GSMA, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, Orange, and T-Mobile US, have created the first inter-operator blockchain network.
 
This new solution will automatically generate and sign inter-operator roaming discount agreements as needed, automating a process which is currently done manually.
 
The efficiency gains from this solution will be significant, but perhaps the biggest plus for the telcos is that it offers a trusted, neutral middleman to facilitate their interactions. The blockchain solution automatically authenticates both parties, leaving no opportunity for the transfers to be meddled with by the receiving party.  
 
"This innovative development provides a new layer of trust, as the agreed-upon terms cannot be subsequently changed or tampered with," said Deutsche Telekom. "In addition, it allows a holistic, analytic view of agreements, enabling further automation of the roaming wholesale workflow in the future, for example settlement processes between operators."
 
Operators are under constant pressure to make roaming cheaper and more efficient, but this poses a significant challenge, especially in view of new technology such as NB-IoT, LTE-M, or VoLTE, which will add additional levels of complexity.  
 
“Our new solution is scalable, therefore, IoT devices and new emerging business requirements can be easily accommodated in the future. Disputes and financial losses will be minimised,” concluded John Calian, senior vice president and head of T-Labs, Deutsche Telekom’s innovation unit.
 
If successful, the plan is to open-source the project’s code, hopefully allowing for the solution’s implementation by the industry at large.
 
 
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