Since blockchain has made its way to the mainstream in recent years, there has been much enthusiasm (and some confusion) over how businesses in all verticals can harness this revolutionary technology to enhance efficiency, data security, and generate new revenue streams. But while the benefits of blockchain may be more immediately obvious in the financial field (transaction speed, reduced cost), some senior executives are still unaware of the compelling blockchain use cases in Telecom and other industries.
Fortunately, much of the marketing hype and misinformation surrounding blockchain is beginning to die down as more real-world blockchain use cases and applications emerge. According to a 2019 survey by Deloitte, for example, 53% of executives stated that blockchain had now become a critical priority for their organisation (up 10 points from the previous year). A further 83% see a compelling use case for their business. So, what about blockchain applications for Telecom?
Exploring Blockchain Use Cases in Telecom
As Telecom prepares to enter the 5G era bringing the next wave of disruption to the industry, now, more than ever, organisations need to focus on continued innovation to remain relevant and competitive in this sector.
Beyond faster data and lower latency, the fifth generation of network technology will enable an almost incomprehensible amount of cross-industry applications and IoT devices to connect.
Using blockchain technology as the backbone of IoT interconnectivity will allow the Telecom sector to capitalise on new efficiencies, automation, cost-savings, and improved customer experience. Let’s take a look at the top five blockchain use cases for Telecom here.
1. Identity Management
One of the clearest cases of blockchain applications for Telecom is identity management. Currently, when customers register for new accounts, they have to go through a cumbersome “Know Your Customer” (KYC) process which involves handing over or uploading sensitive information.
This data is then stored with a third party, placing it at risk of inefficient management, fraud, and even breaches or hacks — such as that of Adobe in 2013 or Equifax in 2017, in which hundreds of millions of customers’ sensitive data was stolen and exposed.
Integrating blockchain with your existing Telecom networks can remove this hazard as customer identities are no longer stored with a centralised third-party but in a decentralized, tamper-proof immutable ledger, with no single point of failure.
Not only can Telecom providers reduce costs and enhance customer security but this revolutionary technology also gives rise to a blockchain identity management use case (identity-as-a-service).
In an increasingly competitive industry in which providers regularly exchange data and customers continually need to provide it, offering identity-as-a-service could be a new and major revenue stream for Telecom providers, helping them to innovate and diversify from their core business model.
In this way, blockchain technology can also give customers a portable identity allowing them to share data with the providers of their choice quickly, easily, and without going through tedious and repetitious processes.
2. 5G Enablement
According to a report by Ericsson, by 2022, a staggering two-thirds of almost 30 billion connected devices will be IoT devices. As we approach a new era of connectivity, 5G will allow these devices to interconnect instantly and frictionlessly without suffering from current latency issues. They will also be able to connect over wider ranges.
However, for 5G to be implemented safely, the data being received by these interconnected devices must be trustworthy and free from the intervention of malicious actors. This cries out for a technology that is secure, tamper-proof, decentralized, transparent, and allows for information transmission to be automated in real-time.
Blockchain will enable 5G to reach its full potential by being that trusted source of data that interlinks all devices. It will provide security and the peace of mind that we won’t see self-driving cars suddenly being hijacked and run off the road or cardiac devices hacked and patients’ lives held at ransom.
3. Roaming and Settlements
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.
With blockchain technology, telecom providers can create smart contracts that are executed without human intervention, making for a seamless automated experience. Customers benefit from a transparent service and companies cut down costs and increase efficiencies by removing the middlemen.
4. SLA Monitoring
SLA (Service Level Agreements) are vital to the Telecom sector as they define the services provided to the customer in terms of technical capacity, quality parameters, rate reduction entitlement, etc. However, SLA monitoring is often subject to inefficiencies, delays and disputes depending on how the agreement is interpreted.
For example, a customer may have the right to a discount should the provider fail to meet the contract terms due to an interruption of service or high latency issue. While many Telecom organisations have invested in the automation of SLAs, there’s often still a need for manual processes which exacerbate these delays.
Using smart contracts on the blockchain can not only clarify SLA conditions and make the monitoring process more transparent but payments can be automated upon completion of the agreed-upon terms. So, for example, if a client is without service for a certain period of time, they’ll automatically receive a rebate without having to file a claim.
5. Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
Mobile number portability (MNP) has been available to customers for some time already. However, it’s a service that’s often fraught with difficulty and delay. This is usually due to a disconnect between providers who may hold or need additional information to complete the transfer. This can lead to frustration for customers and delays in onboarding for service providers.
In the same way as smart contracts can automate SLA monitoring and resolve roaming disputes, they can also accelerate the MNP process. Blockchain can act as one network for all providers to access the same information.
And thanks to the innate properties of blockchain, they can be sure that the information is immutable, auditable, tamper-proof, and trustworthy. This will allow all network providers to work together cohesively, efficiently, and with notable cost-savings and benefits for the end user as well.
How Protokol Can Help
Blockchain technology is revolutionising the Telecom industry by enabling automation, efficiency, and new business models. These five blockchain use cases are just scratching the surface of blockchain applications for Telecom. But if it still sounds a little daunting, the good news is you don’t have to navigate it alone. And you don’t need a complete overhaul of your existing IT systems either.
At Protokol, we simplify the process of unlocking real value for your business from blockchain technology. We provide custom blockchain solutions that make integrating blockchain into your Telecom business easy and frictionless. Solutions that work in harmony with your existing infrastructures, not against them.
Starting with a flexible and adaptable enterprise-grade blockchain platform, we build solutions that plug into the very heart of your business. No waste, no complexity, just a custom blockchain solution that really delivers.
From blockchain consulting, to blockchain development and support services, we’ll accompany you all the way from planning and design to delivery and ongoing support.
To learn more about Protokol’s blockchain solutions for Telecom, visit our blockchain in Telecom page or get started now by booking a free consultation with our blockchain experts. We’ll even deliver a complimentary, personalised use case to explore how blockchain technology can deliver on your business objectives. Get in touch to learn more.