Blockchain and it’s Role in Telecommunications!

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a decentralized software platform for managing digital assets such as Cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Etherium) etc where the said technology allows user to transact directly with another user without any involvement of any third-party intermediary. Blockchain is described as a decentralized Database or distributed ledger that records digital transactions.

Three Types of Blockchains:

In Blockchain, once the transaction has transpired, a network of miners strive against each other to validate that block of transaction is correct or not and once the same has been validated they are then included into a sequential chain of transactions. It essentially is an unchangeable record of transactions, preventing anyone making any alterations to the ledger.

Figure 1: How Block Chain Works

Image Source: Thomsonreuters

Blockchain Opportunity in Telecommunications Industry

Telecommunication Industry is already in the middle of doing Digital Transformation as it moves towards virtualization, AI, RPA etc . so adding Blockchain into the equation definitely offers some measurable and quantifiable benefits to CSPs in there day to day current running operations as well as for future readiness.

Few Use Cases where Telecommunication can be benefited with Blockchain:

UseCase#1: Fraud Prevention

In Current Scenario, When a User is in Roaming to a partner Network, Partner Network sends the CDRs information as an offline mechanism through some Data Clearing House (DCH). A DCH is later responsible to send the TAP files to Home Network.

Solution: A permissioned blockchain could be implemented between every pair of operators which have a roaming agreement. Designated nodes from both operators act as miners to verify the sanctity of each transaction broadcasted on the network through a Romaing Subscriber from Home to Visitor network where roaming agreement is implemented between the Home and Visitor Network as a smart contract that is triggered when a transaction containing the CDR data is broadcasted on the blockchain network through a Subscriber like a Voice Call or Data packet. Every time a subscriber triggers an event in a visiting network, the VPMN broadcasts the CDR information as a transaction to the HPMN. This data triggers the smart contract and the terms of the agreement are executed. The HPMN can thus automatically calculate the billing amount based on the services rendered and send this information back to the VPMN. This helps instantaneous and verified authorization as well as settlement to occur in line with blockchain-based smart contract terms. CSPs can also do away with the DCH acting as middleman, resulting in further cost savings. Blockchain will enable a complex datasets across multiple parties, in real-time with high trust and security, particularly establishing subscriber identity.

UseCase#2: Identity Management

A telco can look forward for a centralized Identity Management for their own services as well as offer it to it partners. Using a Blockchain technology, Identity Authentication could be applied across devices, applications and across different organizations. It will help a user/subscriber to keep multiple identify across different platforms. Blockchain-based platforms can easily enable authentication across devices and organizations by using the decentralized Blockchain principle with identity verification.

UseCase#3: Support to Internal Processes:

Through the standardization and process simplification, Blockchain technology will support number of BSS/OSS processes such as number portability (Subscriber can keep a same number and change his Service provider), Billing (Prepaid and Postpaid) SIM Provisioning (Activation of Mobile Services onto a Network).

On Number portability, using Blockchain Technology, dependency on third-party clearing house can be removed and churning down the time by automating the entire process of doing routing from one operator’s blockchain to another operator.

UseCase#4: Readiness for 5G

Operators can easily use blockchain to overcome barriers around network provisioning and real-time processing and reduce the friction required for implementing 5G networks. By using smart contracts for invoking the automatic execution of rules and agreements between different access mechanisms and the real-time supply of network resources (e.g. public Wi-Fi), Blockchain technology will help speed up network implementations and the management of users interacting with third-party value added services.

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