Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica Finalized Blockchain Solution for Roaming Discount Settlement


July 13, 2020 3:11 pm

Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica Finalized Blockchain Solution
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Three global industry leaders in telecommunications — British provider Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and Spanish multinational telecommunications Telefónica, have jointly finalized a trial blockchain solution for the settlement of roaming discount agreements.

The Blockchain solution is developed by Clear, a blockchain startup builds blockchain-based settlement and clearing networks for global industries. The solution is expected to reduce capital costs for telcos, support faster revenue recognition, and provide a more efficient settlement for their inter-company deals and workflows.

To support the startup in developing its blockchain settlement system, both Telefónica Innovation Ventures and the Telekom Innovation Pool of Deutsche Telekom had participated in a $13 million Series A investment for Clear earlier this year.

The finalized trial solution involved a system for automated settlement for roaming data from the three providers for 2019. To obtain yearly settlement results “within minutes” and to have real-time and multi-party insight into data discrepancies, Telefónica, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone enabled the system. The providers were also able to instantly update or amend data on the system.

Johannes Opitz, Vice President of commercial roaming services at Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier described the benefits of using the blockchain solution for an evolving global telecoms infrastructure: 

“Roaming discount agreement reconciliation is a complex, costly process prone to errors […] Using Clear’s solution, operators will now have the ability to transact seamlessly with an ecosystem of partners — a crucial ability in the 5G and Edge ecosystem, in which we foresee significant growth of operators’ business relationships and business models.”  

The three telecom whales are calling on other providers to join the network of users of Clear’s solution, with the expectation that automated roaming settlement will provide a boost for new business partnerships to promote the new services needed for technologies such as 5G, Edge computing and Internet of Things ecosystems.

Eran Haggiag, Clear’s co-founder and executive chairman, announced that “initiatives from leading industry bodies such as the GSMA [Global System for Mobile Communications] and the GLF [Global Leaders’ Forum] are now pushing for industry adoption across multiple use cases.” For contract settlement between firms, he noted that the solution can guarantee control, security and privacy.

Sherif Bakir, the CEO of Vodafone Roaming Services, similarly joined the system to the future roadmap for telecoms infrastructure, noting that:

“With new, more complex technologies like 5G and IoT being introduced, even more, radical innovation in roaming will take digitalization to the next level. Vodafone believes blockchain is the solution, and its use will lay the foundation for further sustained innovation. Clear’s solution is a solid demonstration of blockchain’s benefits.”

Blockchain and Top Telecommunications

Prominently, all three telecommunication companies have made invasions into blockchain implementation before their turn to the technology for inter-operator roaming agreements.

In January, Teléfonica declared a partnership with the Association of Science and Technology Parks to grant around 8,000 firms access to its blockchain. It has also previously partnered with Microsoft and IBM on blockchain applications.

In fall 2019, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom started a German Blockchain Ecosystem for enterprise clients and the telecoms provider has also partnered with SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest wireless carrier, on developing a blockchain-based mobile identification solution. Vodafone declared it was exploring a blockchain-based digital identity platform this March, to assist verify its suppliers across its value chains.

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