Blockchain in Telecom
Written by Thangamani Dayalan
What is blockchain?
A blockchain is a digital record of transactions. The name comes from its structure, in which individual records, called blocks, are linked together in a single list, called a chain. Blockchains are used for recording transactions made with cryptocurrencies.
Each transaction added to a blockchain is validated by multiple computers on the Internet. They work together to ensure each transaction is valid before it is added to the blockchain.
While blockchain is widely known for its use in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ether, the technology has several other uses. Blockchain can potentially be used to allow individuals to pay each other without a central clearing point, which is required for ACH and wire transfers.
Blockchain technology can also be used for non-financial purposes. For example, some digital signature platforms now use blockchain to record signatures and verify documents have been digitally signed. Blockchain can even be used to protect intellectual property by linking the distribution of content to the original source.
Use cases of block chain in Telecom
MNP usually has high processing time and delays, this is due to various reasons like data mismatch between operators and periodic updates required on the local database from an centralized database.
Mobile Number Portability(MNP)can be streamlined with a blockchain solution that will act as one network where all operators can act and review requests. With real-time, transparent and immutable data on blockchain, operators can create a single source of truth on the network(blockchain). Distributed blockchain ledger will also help to eliminate the possibility of single point of failure as all service providers have access to the same data.
Prevention of phone theft
Currently, in case of mobile theft, the process of blocking the device is manual and can only be done by mobile phone or network operator. Telecom operators now have limited information and rely on global operator databases, which require periodic updation.
A blockchain solution can be used by telecom operators to store device/SIM data on blockchain, block a stolen device instantly and also be informed of the status of the device. In case of theft, the customer’s operator can lodge a complaint and put the device information on the blockchain, which would enable any other operator in any country to detect, block and get the information/status of the stolen device.
Identity management (KYC)
KYC(Know Your Customer), first important step for an operator to on board a customer into their network.
Blockchain Solution can allow decentralized storage of these documents, with control remaining solely with the individual on who to share the documents with. Recording immutable data on the blockchain will help to reduce forgery and submission of fraudulent documents. Blockchain solutions can be used for offering Identity as a Service(IDaas) and act as a channel between customers and digital services(telecom operators.. etc.).
SLA monitoring/settlement between organizations is often delayed/disputed due to differences in interpretation of SLAs between the organizations. Blockchain powered smart contracts can avoid these disputes by creating a single source of truth and provide real-time data on SLA and KPI.
SLA data and KPI rules will be managed by smart contracts on blockchain and once a service is complete, the smart contract determines the SLA status and checks whether the KPI rules are met or not.
Roaming settlements are now done by intermediaries/clearing houses. These third parties control the settlements and settlement timelines can take months. This may lead to human errors, frauds and poor customer customer experience.
Smart contracts on blockchain can remove the role of intermediaries by automating SLA agreements and provide real-time view to all the stakeholders. This helps to reduce roaming fraud, cost savings and faster settlements. Operators can use blockchain based smart contracts to quickly resolve disputes and update real-time usages to end customers.
About the Author:
Thangamani is a Senior Software Engineer at Circles.Life. He is highly experienced in implementation and maintenance of Telecom BSS stack involving BRM , PDC , ECE and OCOMC. He also mentors a team of developers in delivering products to market with top quality.