Blockchain use cases for telcos
Blockchain is poised to disrupt the telecom industry. The technology provides users with a distributed, decentralized way to conduct online transactions with an assembly of records called blocks, which are strung together using the mathematical language of cryptography. While still a budding technology, new blockchain use cases are emerging in a variety of industries, including telcos.
Blockchain is anticipated to enable smart contracts, a computer program that outlines the conditions under which an online transaction can take place. Using smart contracts, commercial translations and agreements can be carried out automatically. Blockchain is also expected to enable service providers with micro-payment business models, which provide access to services or content. With blockchain, telcos could become payment-as-service providers, allowing small micropayments to be collectively settled.
Blockchain technology can also provide a level of security to the telecom industry, which is known for its data breaches. Last July, for example, a Nice Systems employee accidentally leaked online the names, phone numbers and PIN codes of 6 million Verizon customers. Since blockchain data is public, the idea is it would be difficult for an individual to make modifications to existing records without being spotted in the act. Moreover, since blockchain tracks changes made to the network, it is able to detect cases of fraud and error in real time.
One of the key benefits of blockchain technology is the ability eliminate the middleman, like banks and financial institutions, when making a data exchange. Using blockchain, service providers could decrease costs by relying less on third parties, which are often involved in roaming, WiFi offloading and app partnerships.
Registries serve as both short and long-term data centers, which update information once a week, month or year. These registries contain data like blacklisted customers, and could potentially be superseded by distributed ledgers. A number-portability database, for instance, cloud leverage blockchain technology to minimize the price of data exchanges anchored to a third-party database administrator, in addition to providing a level of trust and security to telcos.
Streamline internal processes
Service providers could use blockchain to streamline internal processes, such as billing, network functions virtualization (NFV) management, roaming and number portability databases. With respect to roaming, for example, blockchain provides access and authentication for visiting subscribers, potentially mitigating the price of fraud. Service providers could also eliminate third party data clearing houses that act as middlemen with blockchain.
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