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Four Large Telcos Explore Using Blockchain To Simplify Inter-operator Roaming

Another clear-cut blockchain use case in Telecom pertains to roaming and settlements, an area currently hampered by inefficiencies, human error, and even fraud. For travel outside of the EU, for example, many intermediaries are involved in ensuring a customer can access mobile/data networks. This makes it inefficient and expensive, and provides a horribly inconvenient user experience for the customer. Moreover, any issue that arises from unexpected charges or settlement of bills while using roaming can often take months to resolve.

Four large telcos explore using blockchain to simplify inter-operator roaming

In order to facilitate 5G roaming services within the Sultanate of Oman, Vodafone Oman has hired Syniverse. By utilizing a strong set of cloud applications created to digitize and optimize all workflows required by the operator to handle its 5G roaming business, Vodafone Oman will be able to increase efficiency with the help of Syniverse's Clearing and Settlement way to solve. Through using GSMA's Billing and Charging Evolution (BCE) industry protocol, Vodafone Oman will also profit from Syniverse's Roaming Scam Safety and Universal Commerce for BCE strategies. A blockchain-based solution called Universal Commerce for BCE facilitates 5G-enabled monetization models like network slicing and the monetization of the internet of things.

Could blockchain really impact on the business of communications providers? As an industry, have telcos already embraced this technology? Do they see any opportunity behind blockchain? Do blockchain and decentralized technologies make sense for telco industry? If you search for telco blockchain in Google, you have a lot of results, but most of them are posts listing uses cases in the telco businesses identified by consultancy firms and analyst as relevant for applying blockchain. Repeatedly we find use cases for roaming and intercarrier settlements, fraud detection, IoT identity and security, 5G provisioning and so on. However, they are not identified by the telco companies themselves.

The other big case to apply blockchain in existing processes is the settlement of data and payments between different companies. These means for telcos the roaming and wholesale business. While supply chain projects are a reality, in this case, we find a lot of multilateral proof-of-concepts sponsored by existing consortia like GSMA or GLF. They are even trying to standardize how the networks should evolve to a decentralized paradigm. In some successful cases, the projects have even been deployed between some operators to improve their bilateral relationships. In any case, impact in business is still not very significant.

According to IBM, the impact of lack of supply chain visibility are around $300 billion globally. Just by improving efficiency by a few percentage points we have a billion dollar business. The disputes in global roaming market reach several billion dollars yearly. Juniper Research found that the SSI (self-sovereign identity) movement will reach annual revenue of $1.1 billion by 2024. Market cap of Filecoin and Helium reach $12 billion. Decentraland, one of the popular metaverse, values $5 billion and all-time sales of NFTs will reach $10 billions next week. All these flourishing businesses needs reliable blockchain networks to operate and telcos know how to do that. So, just capturing some of the value we are facing a market worth billions.


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