- Identity and Data management
- IoT Smart Contracts
- Operational Expenditure
- Initial Telecom Coin Offering
- Mobile Data Tokens
- Global and country-specific register
Blockchain Telecom Use Cases: Identity and Data management
Blockchain will change the telecom industry and with it the identity and data management. So identity and data management is a big use case for Blockchain. Telecom companies use them to generate new sources of revenues. They could provide their users Dapps that creates unique virtual identities for each one. So these are encrypted and stored in a Blockchain. Thus, they can use this identity to automatically authenticate themselves when visiting e-commerce websites, secure buildings or airplane tickets. They also can verify personal documents such as passports, driving licenses, birth and marriage certificates, and educational degrees.
For example, a virtual identity stored in a Blockchain using the Dapp could be used by a user to sign into Facebook or Google on a mobile device. Thus, the benefit of having such a service is that you don’t need to provide your personal details to different service providers to create new accounts. So the virtual identity stored through the Dapp could be provided to numerous partner websites, utility service providers and apps as a unique identifier.2 As a result, you will much more easily try new services if you do not have to subscribe from the start.
This use case will open new sources of revenue for the operators and could be a game changer in how we access third party sites. So the UN is already working on a project called ID2020. This is a public-private partnership that provides identity services to a lot of people who live without an officially recognized identity.3 As a result, Blockchain is a key technology for this project.
Blockchain Telecom Use Cases: IoT Smart Contracts
A smart contract is a protocol used to verify the negotiation of a contract. So smart contract defines the rules and penalties around the agreement, but it can also automatically enforce them. Industries like insurance, legal services or financial services use smart contracts to enforce rules and protocols. For the telecom industry, Internet of Things is one area where Blockchain based smart contracts could be useful. One of the biggest issues in IoT is how to maintain trust and security among a lot of users that connected with the network. The devices in the IoT ecosystem are the points of contact with the physical world. So when IoT platforms use a Blockchain based solution for connectivity or authentication this will reduce time-consuming workflows.
Blockchain Telecom Use Cases: Operational Expenditure
Blockchain will change the telecom industry and reduces the operational expenditure. So telecom operators can save millions of dollars by using a transactional network profile to proactively identify and resolve potential network issues. Proactive customer retention efforts are kind of quality initiatives, process and service improvements. So they encourage loyalty by removing the causes of defection in the first place. As a result, they decrease operational expenditure by proactively using transactional network profile. So this will help in debugging call related issues or identification of degraded cells. It can also help with anomaly detection and regulatory checking in future, reducing fraud between companies.
Blockchain can also help in storing network transactional data. The persisted data can be studied further to detect degraded services, their patterns from the past, and the reasons behind those patterns. So you can now store important performance monitoring counters related to cells on a Blockchain. Thus, you can compare this trend with the current trend of a cell. If the variance is quite high, the operator receives an alert about the cell. They can then proactively take action. As a result, the customer won’t get angry. Companies can also inform customers about the potential issue enhancing trust even further.
Blockchain Telecom Use Cases: Initial Telecom Coin Offering
Initial Coin Offering became popular due to the need of so many cryptos in recent past. For the uninitiated, ICOs are means of crowdfunding a new cryptocurrency or Blockchain based startups. Now, even telecom based companies have started to issue telecom related coins. The ICO is normally related to public Blockchain-based systems that anyone can take part in and so are the “coin offerings”.
The main rationale behind these network coin offerings is that it allows different models of monetization with pricing being governed by external factors. ICOs are a good way of tokenizing mobile data, voice, app-based packages, and other network capabilities.
Blockchain Telecom Use Cases: Mobile Data Tokens
Normally companies moderate their mobile data plans with unused data expiring at the end of every billing cycle in most parts of the world. Mobile data rates vary from 1$/GB to 10$/GB across different operators and regions. Millions of dollars of unused data expire every month across the world. Even with more than two decades of mobile phones, more than half of the world’s population still does not have mobile and data connectivity. The unused data could be provided to those people and thereby providing data connectivity.
A simple Blockchain based exchange could help to bridge this gap whereby users can donate or sell their unused data plans in the form of tokens. So a decentralized solution for providing mobile data will enable you to buy from providers at transparent terms and reduces costs. Thus, the use case will require partnerships with operators to offer mobile data packages and enable user-to-user data transfer.
Blockchain Telecom Use Cases: Global and country-specific register
Blockchain will change the telecom industry and with it the global and country-specific register. These registries are databases both short and long-term where you can update your information once in a month or year. So these registries could contain lists of bad customers, lost devices, number portability updates, and shared spectrum usage rights and allocations. Blockchain-enabled trust and security will be the most important factors. It will keep these registries different from normal databases and will be accessible to everyone.
They can also create Dapps with mobile equipment identity of lost mobiles and they can use it to locate your lost device. So these registries require a lot of collaboration among the operators along with regulatory framework put in by the regulatory body.4
Blockchain has been most talked technology of recent years with use cases coming out in almost every domain. So in its initial years, it had been centered around currencies, banks and insurance sectors now industries like telecom see greater value from Blockchain implementation. Thus, trust and security are important from the telecom network point of view.
Blockchain will also enable new data monetization plans. So companies will come up with innovative business models challenging and disrupting the traditional models employed by many of the telecom companies. Thus, within the next few years, you can expect the use of Blockchain technology in the telecom industry. As a result, it will become the norm in services like identity management, and registries to start with. As is often the case with any new technology, Blockchain is being developed and implemented at a faster rate than the existing regulations and government’s frameworks. So regulatory authorities should also enable flexible legal and specification frameworks.
- A. Roychowdhury, “Blockchain fundamentals”, Blockchain will change the telecom industry [online] : https://arkarc.gitbooks.io/weekend-workbook-Blockchainfundamentals/ , [accessed: April 2018]
- R. Kochhar, “Blockchain in telecoms: Is it still all hype or are we moving towards reality”, Nov. 2017, [online]: ckchain-telecoms-it-still-all-hype-or-are-we-movingtowards-reality/ , [accessed: June 2018]
- United Nations Digital Indentity Program, [online] :https://id2020.org , [accessed : June 2018]
- Hyperledger, The Linux Foundation project, [online] : www.hyperledger.org , [accessed : Feb 2018