European telcos trial blockchain for roaming settlement

News

Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier, Telefónica and Vodafone are trialling blockchain to simplify roaming settlements.

Traditionally, roaming partners go through an annual process, which is complex and largely manual, to work out what they owe each other for roaming on their respective networks.

The trials, which are based on technology from start-up Clear, evaluated the technical feasibility of automating this wholesale roaming discount settlement process using blockchain.

Settlement in minutes

The process was able to handle a wide range of complex charging models and cut processing times to minutes, Clear said.

Eran Haggiag, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Clear, commented, “This is an exciting step forward towards the digital future, enabling further roaming related use cases and business models. There is a huge amount of potential for blockchain to automate many of the industry’s manual processes, delivering significant benefits for companies and their customers.”

Network effect

In a recent blog post, Federico Homberg,  Head of Commercial Roaming Business Development, Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier, noted that Deutsche Telekom has wholesale roaming relationships with over 600 mobile operators.

“I see blockchain solutions as a great, perhaps crucial, value addition. It can support efficiency of processes and greater transparency as more and more operators work together,” he commented. He said, too, that getting as many carriers on board as possible would be key to generate the “network effect”.

The three telcos are now looking to work with the wider industry and the GSMA to investigate the potential for an open blockchain ecosystem and consider the future for ongoing financial settlements based on this technology.