Opportunity is calling for the telcos with blockchain

Total read time 10 min

IBM Blockchain

Is blockchain the remedy for slow growth in a fast-paced category?

Dive deeper into use cases in production

Data privacy through an immutable record of user preferences

Operational efficiency that could impact billions of transactions

Improving the customer experience and expanding business opportunities

How to get started with IBM Blockchain

Our IBM Blockchain experts

Answering the challenges of the telco industry

1 min read

Is blockchain the remedy for slow growth in a fast-paced category?

Few industries are more crucial to business – and life – than telecommunications.

Few industries also face more intense competition and pressure to innovate. With more than 8 billion mobile subscribers worldwide1, telcos engage in immense efforts to attract new customers, keep current ones satisfied and replace those who leave.

Closely tied to those competitive efforts is an infrastructure arms race to deliver the latest technology and innovation – particularly 5G – to customers continually demanding more services and better value.

1.1T 

USD projected telco network investments in next five years2 (PDF, 3.6 MB)


80%

of that investment will be in 5G2 (PDF, 3.6 MB)

Yet even with 5G’s potential, slow growth in the short term and long-term business pressures weigh on the minds of telco executives:

  • Revenue is expected to rise steadily – if slowly – at around one percent per year through 20252 (PDF, 3.6 MB)
  • Twenty-three percent of executives believe that lower prices and tighter margins will impact their bottom lines3

Trillion-dollar investments and competition will always be good for the end user. But the quest for high-speed data and emerging business technologies like IoT, AI and others will continue to put pressure on industry players.

It’s more than meeting demand; it’s also discovering innovative ways to differentiate from the competition, diversify offerings and generate new revenue.

Let’s examine how blockchain could help in significant new ways.

Is blockchain the remedy for slow growth in a fast-paced category?

Dive deeper into use cases in production

Data privacy through an immutable record of user preferences

Operational efficiency that could impact billions of transactions

Improving the customer experience and expanding business opportunities

How to get started with IBM Blockchain

Our IBM Blockchain experts

Four blockchain strategic levers for telcos

1 min read

Dive deeper into use cases in production

Telcos are using blockchain technology to reshape the ways they approach longstanding data privacy and operational challenges. But there are also innovative use cases that set the stage for improved customers experiences and routes to new business models.

Click to see how blockchain is improving telecommunications in:

Is blockchain the remedy for slow growth in a fast-paced category?

Dive deeper into use cases in production

Data privacy through an immutable record of user preferences

Operational efficiency that could impact billions of transactions

Improving the customer experience and expanding business opportunities

How to get started with IBM Blockchain

Our IBM Blockchain experts

Protecting data and reducing annoyance

1 min read

Data privacy through an immutable record of user preferences

How many times a day does your phone buzz with an unwanted call or text?

In India, IBM Blockchain is working with Bharti Airtel to protect the data of nearly 250 million users from the nuisance of spam callers and texters.

The move is in response to July 2018 regulations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to stem an increasing tide of unsolicited calls and texts – and telling telcos to use blockchain as a way to do it.

Woman holding a cellphone

The Airtel solution uses a blockchain-enabled scrubbing process allowing approved advertisers and telemarketers to contact only those users who have opted-in. The solution also protects user mobile numbers from advertisers and telemarketers in the process.

Privacy, trust and data security continue to be on the minds of consumers everywhere. This immutable record of user preferences is the next step in ensuring that telcos remain among the most trusted parties for handling personal data and securing privacy.

Is blockchain the remedy for slow growth in a fast-paced category?

Dive deeper into use cases in production

Data privacy through an immutable record of user preferences

Operational efficiency that could impact billions of transactions

Improving the customer experience and expanding business opportunities

How to get started with IBM Blockchain

Our IBM Blockchain experts

Speeding clearing and settlement of roaming transactions

3 min read

Operational efficiency that could impact billions of transactions

Smartphones have unleashed unprecedented convenience – and created massive operational complexity.

We’re accustomed to using our smartphones on another carrier’s network. Yet behind every call made, text sent, app used or website visited is a transaction requiring clearing and settlement between your carrier and the one you’re using.

Processing hundreds of billion records like this each year, Syniverse is a world leader in managing the clearing and settlement of roaming transactions. They’ve recently worked with IBM Blockchain to build and launch a production network that’s reducing traditional friction between carriers.

By leveraging blockchain’s distributed ledger technology and standardizing processes through smart contracts, carriers can now share a single version of the truth instead of arguing over disparate records.

5G is about to unleash a tidal wave of innovation – and data. This blockchain solution can alleviate unnecessary delays in cash collection, and could be crucial for an industry looking for ways to speed growth and lower costs.

Man writing on a whiteboard

Watch: how the idea came to life with IBM (02:44)

Is blockchain the remedy for slow growth in a fast-paced category?

Dive deeper into use cases in production

Data privacy through an immutable record of user preferences

Operational efficiency that could impact billions of transactions

Improving the customer experience and expanding business opportunities

How to get started with IBM Blockchain

Our IBM Blockchain experts

Creating the pathway for telcos to offer financial services

2 min read

Improving the customer experience and expanding business opportunities

Banks can pay 200 USD or more to acquire a new customers.4 Blockchain can help telcos offer banking services for far less.

Your wallet and smartphone are merging rapidly – and the financial services industry may never be the same. This puts telcos in a position to expand their offerings to customers in ways that few other industries can do so readily.

Many of us use banking apps on our smartphones to make payments directly to vendors. Telcos already have three key ingredients to provide the same service themselves:

  • Meeting KYC (Know Your Customer) standards
  • Postpaid billing relationships with customers to serve as a funding source
  • The mobile platform to host easy-to-use consumer apps

All that’s missing from the above is a neutral network on which to conduct transactions and merchant acceptance of these payments. That’s where blockchain comes in.

IBM Blockchain is working with TBCASoft and SoftBank to create a Cross-Carrier Payment System (CCPS). With it, travellers can use an app on their smartphones to make payments to local merchants through a single unified global payment platform.

TBCASoft uses blockchain’s immutable record and distributed ledger technology to optimize transaction records and clearing between its network of 19 different carriers so they can provide over-the-top (OTT) payment solutions.

CCPS then provides interoperability across the OTT payment networks, giving smartphone users instant access to local merchant networks when they travel.

It’s just one of the many possible ways blockchain can be used to enhance the customer experience and expand business for carriers.

Is blockchain the remedy for slow growth in a fast-paced category?

Dive deeper into use cases in production

Data privacy through an immutable record of user preferences

Operational efficiency that could impact billions of transactions

Improving the customer experience and expanding business opportunities

How to get started with IBM Blockchain

Our IBM Blockchain experts

Build a blockchain ecosystem, redefine a business model

2 min read

How to get started with IBM Blockchain

Can a telco become more than a telco?

Tall buildings viewed from below and the sky

As you’ve been reading, blockchain is redefining how telcos manage data privacy, improve operational efficiency and elevate customer experiences.

But this is just the beginning of blockchain’s potential in the sector. Early adopters are positioning themselves to deliver new business models in order to capture “winner-takes-most” positions for new profit pools – both inside telecommunications and elsewhere.

Syniverse’s clearing and settlement solution can translate to virtually any other industry where clearing and settlement issues persist. The TBCASoft solution can bring telcos closer to offering a full suite of financial services to their subscribers. And Airtel’s data privacy works to increase subscriber trust while setting the stage for a host of digital identity applications.

Being first to market with these solutions may make it possible for these companies to lead a new era of blockchain consortia delivering value to multiple business network participants. That in turn can lead to newfound partnerships and even a network of networks, where companies can unlock value with each other through blockchain’s collaboration, trust and transparency.

IBM has earned accolades from leading analysts in bringing networks like these to life, with our focus on the three most critical design points in achieving blockchain success: governance, business value and technology.

Wherever you are in your blockchain journey, turn to more than 1,600 IBM industry and technical experts with insights from 100+ live networks to answer the call of opportunity in today’s marketplace.

1,600

IBM industry and technical experts


100+ 

live blockchain networks

Clients value IBM’s ability to bring an integrated services and solutions offering...Based on the analysis, IBM emerged as a leader.

- Everest Group PEAK Matrix™ for Enterprise Blockchain Services 2020

...the flag bearer of enterprise blockchain with a significant number of live blockchain networks.

- HFS Top 10 Enterprise Blockchain Services

IBM is clearly regarded as having the strongest credentials in the blockchain sector, well ahead of competitors.

- Juniper Research Blockchain Enterprise Survey

Is blockchain the remedy for slow growth in a fast-paced category?

Dive deeper into use cases in production

Data privacy through an immutable record of user preferences

Operational efficiency that could impact billions of transactions

Improving the customer experience and expanding business opportunities

How to get started with IBM Blockchain

Our IBM Blockchain experts

About the authors

1 min read

Our IBM Blockchain experts

Luca Marchi portrait

Luca Marchi

AI & Blockchain Leader — Telco, Media & Entertainment Industry Center of Competence

Luca Marchi specializes in helping Telecommunications, Media and Entertainment (TME) industries improve the way they serve their customers with blockchain and cognitive computing. Luca has a deep industry knowledge from a decade spent in various roles in IBM and different companies in the industry. Luca is experienced in explaining new and complex technology to different stakeholders and is an active contributor to the cognitive industry. In his current role, Luca oversees IBM engagements in the TME industry, and owning the TME blockchain accelerators for IBM Services.


Utpal Mangla portrait

Utpal Mangla

VP & Senior Partner — Telco, Media & Entertainment Industry Center of Competence

Utpal Mangla leads the Innovation competency in Global Telecommunications, Media, Entertainment (TME) Industry at IBM, focusing on Watson AI, Blockchain, 5G Edge and IoT technologies. With over twenty years of consulting, system integration, program delivery and industry experience, Utpal brings a depth of expertise and knowledge on building next-generation client interactions and providing seamless customer experiences across multiple platforms for the telecommunications industry.