Four of the world’s biggest telecoms providers will cooperate on a joint pilot that could see blockchain technology applied to inter-operator roaming agreements.
Per Mobile Europe, Deutsche Telekom and its United States-based mobile and wireless network operator T-Mobile US will team up with Spain’s Telefónica and Orange of France to pilot a blockchain-powered solution for automated roaming management.
The trial is being carried out through the GSM Association, an industry group that comprises some 750 global mobile carrier networks. It will make use of technology developed by Deutsche Telekom’s innovation arm, T-Labs, and Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier, its international wholesale division.
The four companies believe that the new solution will simplify existing roaming protocols. These currently require operators to formulate, sign and implement inter-operator roaming agreements, often on an individual basis.
However, the telecoms companies believe that blockchain technology will help speed up the process, while ensuring that terms and rates remain tamper-proof. They also believe that – if successful – the platform could be extended in scope, allowing for faster and more effective inter-operator settlements.
The same media outlet quotes Rolf Nafziger, the Senior Vice President of Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier, as saying,
“The inter-operator workflow in roaming has been basically unchanged for the last 20 years. This blockchain-based solution is the start of automating sections of our workflow. It will put us in a position to handle additional complexity while increasing overall efficiency.”
The companies say the tests will mark a first – no group of major operators has ever jointly tested a blockchain-based solution with a legal framework and shared governance model.