Blockchain is a revolutionary technology that can be leveraged in many sectors to inculcate the trust and transparency, and increase efficiency in the processes. It is a decentralized ledger that helps form a trustless network among the different participants, thereby bringing failure-resistant capability. It is currently the most widely discussed technology among different industries, all trying to harness its potential.
Nonetheless, it is high time the decision-makers and strategists of the telecom industry evaluate the diverse applications of this technology in order to apply it in various business functions. Early adoption will help them gain early mover advantage in the market.
Features responsible for the popularity of Blockchain technology are:
- Decentralized and distributed ledger
- Trustless operability
- Immutable, auditable and irreversible nature of records
- No or diminished role third party intermediaries
- Cryptographically secured
- Chronological and timestamped
Challenges and Opportunities
Communication service providers (CSPs) control the end-to-end value chain i.e. data connectivity, network infrastructure, and other related consumer services, for both the users and businesses. Nowadays there is a need to find new sources of revenues and reduce the costs as the revenue is decreasing due to the factors of high cost and high bandwidth demand.
Blockchain has the capability to impact the core management system of CSPs by creating an environment where cost can be reduced, and the revenue can be increased with the efficiency. Following is the list of some of the use cases of Blockchain in Telecom sector, for the development of new products and streamlining internal functions:
- Identity Management
- IoT connectivity
- Fraud Management
- Data management
- 5G Enablement
- Instantaneous Connectivity and Transaction
Some of these use cases leveraging the characteristics of Blockchain technology has been discussed below.
A user is always required to provide his or her personal details to several service providers during the process of signing up for the account and creating passwords. The process of filling the details for availing the numerous services is tiresome and time-consuming. This can be resolved when every subscriber is provided with an app or some kind of ‘eSim’ by the telecoms that can create unique virtual identities that are encrypted and kept on a Blockchain.
This can be used by the subscribers to automatically validate and authenticate their identities while accessing partner websites. Different service providers can use the details of the subscribers through the stored virtual identity without making them sign up for new accounts with different passwords.
Internet of Things:
Presently, telecoms face issues of security and viability while implementing IoT and this can be overcome by reinforcing IoT with Blockchain technology that facilitates a secure environment of peer-to-peer self-managed mesh networks through several nodes. These nodes function using single embedded IoT sensors coupled with the capacity of authenticating every block within the Blockchain. If proven viable, a public network based on the concept of Ethereum or Bitcoin networks can be implemented for the customers that will provide a secured and seamless connectivity.
Presently, SIM cards are provided by virtual networks in order to connect several telecom networks and then prices add up automatically during the process of connection between different machines. This leads to increase in the roaming price.
Here, Blockchain technology can be implemented for letting the telecoms enter into the micro-contracts for roaming services automatically. Smart contracts will enable the telecoms to trigger the roaming agreements between subscribers whenever they switch the networks and additionally, it can help in achieving transparency by tracking the transactions every subscriber makes.
The use cases described above demonstrates the untapped opportunity lying across to be tapped by the telecom industry. Several major telecoms like Telstra, Sprint, NTT DOCOMO Ventures Inc and Verizon etc. have already started investing in the Blockchain technology by collaborating with the companies and investing funds for the purpose of conducting research and development.
Sofocle Technologies in one of the leading organization dedicated to researching and developing solutions based on Blockchain for various industries including Banking & Finance, Supply chain, Health, Telecom etc. To know more email at [email protected]