Major telecom companies from around the world including Telefonica, Telstra, Colt and BT trial blockchain with startup company Clear.
First revealed in March, Colt and PCCW Global carried out a proof-of-concept (PoC) trial with the aim of dramatically reducing both time and costs for the telecom industry.
Currently, wholesale energy trading and settlement is managed manually and bilaterally, involving intermediaries such as brokers and banks, and often involve a time-consuming contractual process, back and forth by emails or fax. This complex process, results in both high transaction and operational costs.
Using blockchain technology, Clear has developed a unified settlement platform that aims to provide all parties a safe and fast way to approve, clear and resolve disputes automatically, while maintaining control, privacy and a high level of assurance.
Fraud mitigation is also another large area that blockchain can help tackle. Eran Haggiag, co-founder and executive chairman of Clear stated:
“Intercarrier settlement is an area where fraud costs $17 billion annually for operators”
The initial PoC was a success, utilising blockchain technology they automated the traditionally labour-intensive and costly inter-carrier settlement of wholesale international services. A release published on Colt’s website stated:
“The Proof of Concept undertaken by Colt and PCCW Global reduced inter-carrier settlement time from hundreds of man-hours per month to less than a minute”
The trials came about after the ITW Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF), where blockchain featured heavily. Colt and PCCW Global went on to complete a live data test, after which CEO of Colt, Carl Grivner said:
“Not only did the second iteration of the PoC do what was intended – accurately match and settle wholesale traffic independently with live information – but it also signals the future of telecoms,”
GLF states that it aims to foster an environment within the telecom industry that focuses on ubiquity and interoperability among providers globally.
According to a global market research store Research and Markets, blockchain technology in telecoms is set to rocket from a $46.6 million industry in 2018, to one worth $993.8 million in 2023.
Upon a second global conference and a live demonstration, GLF members BT, HGC Global Communications, Telefonica and Telstra also joined to carry out further PoC’s, that are currently in progress.
Andrew Kwok, CEO of HGC, commented on the potential impact of a successful trial, stating that the project could demonstrate:
“a new business relationship among global carriers and reshape our business practice in the industry.”
The initial PoC used historical data, however the collaborating parties are now trialling actual live data feeds into the ledger, enabling traffic to be automatically verified and settled between carriers.
The PoC’s are all centred around developing blockchain technology to benefit the telecoms sector as a whole, increasing interoperability between providers globally.
Gal Hochberg, Chief Executive Officer of Clear, said:
“It is exciting for any business to create something that has the power to truly innovate how an entire industry operates. This PoC marks the beginning of how blockchain is set to revolutionise the telecom sector.”