The revolutionary technology that is Blockchain can be leveraged in various sectors to increase trust and transparency and to boost efficiency in the processes. It is a decentralised ledger that helps form a trestles network among the various participants, thereby bringing about failure-resistant capability. Everybody across all industries is talking about this ground breaking technology and are trying to harness its full potential.
It is time for strategists and decision makers in the telecom industry to evaluate the various applications of Blockchain technology, so that it can be applied across various business functions. Early adoption will help them gain the advantage of being an early mover in the market.
Features responsible for the popularity of Blockchain technology are:
- Decentralised and distributed ledger
- Trustless operability
- Immutable, auditable and irreversible nature of records
- No or diminished role for third-party intermediaries
- Cryptographically secure
- Chronological and timestamped
Challenges and Opportunities
Communication service providers (CSPs) control the end-to-end value chain, that is, data connectivity, network infrastructure, and other related consumer services, for both the users and businesses. Currently, there is a need to find additional sources of revenue and reduce cost as the revenue decreases due to factors like high cost and high bandwidth demand.
Blockchain can impact the core management system of CSPs by creating an environment where cost can be reduced, and the revenue can be increased with higher efficiency. Here is a list of some of the use cases of Blockchain in the Telecom sector:
- Identity Management
- IoT connectivity
- Fraud Management
- Data management
- 5G Enablement
- Instantaneous Connectivity and Transaction
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 up the details for availing various services is repetitive and time-consuming. This can be resolved when every subscriber is provided with an app or some kind of ‘eSim’ by the service provider that can create unique virtual identities that are encrypted and kept on a Blockchain.
This can be used by 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, Telecom faces 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 secure and seamless connectivity.
Earlier, SIM cards were provided by virtual networks with the aim to connect many telecom networks and prices were added up automatically during the process of different machines connecting. This caused an increase in the roaming price.
Blockchain Technology can be implemented to allow the service provider to enter the micro-contracts to facilitate roaming services automatically. Whenever there is a switch in networks, the roaming agreements between subscribers is triggered using the Smart Contract. Additionally, blockchain can help in achieving transparency by following each transaction made by every subscriber.
The use cases described above shows the opportunity that is Blockchain waiting to be tapped by the Telecom industry. Several major telecom players like Telstra, Sprint and Verizon have already started investing in Blockchain technology by collaborating with companies and investing funds with the purpose of conducting research and development.