Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile US, Telefonica, Orange and the GSMA, are jointly testing a production-ready solution based on blockchain technology. It allows operators to easily generate and sign secure, inter-operator roaming discount agreements.
The solution was initially designed by Deutsche Telekom Laboratories (T-Labs) and Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier, the international wholesale unit. However, plans are underway to open-source the code, so it can be freely used by the industry at large. It also drastically reduces the complexity of the current process, which involves drafting, signing and manually implementing inter-operator roaming discount agreements.
This innovative development provides a new layer of trust, as the agreed-upon terms cannot be subsequently changed or tampered with. In addition, it allows a holistic, analytic view of agreements, enabling further automation of the roaming wholesale workflow in the future, for example settlement processes between operators.
This is the first time operators are able to jointly test blockchain as a solution that also incorporates a corresponding legal framework, governance model, and integration into corporate IT infrastructures. Hyperledger Fabric has been implemented for this project, which is an open-source blockchain solution backed by the Linux foundation.
“Our new solution is scalable; therefore IoT devices and new emerging business requirements can be easily accommodated in the future. Disputes and financial losses will be minimized,” says John Calian, Senior Vice President and Head of T-Labs, Deutsche Telekom’s innovation unit.
Rolf Nafziger, Senior Vice President of Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier, adds, “The inter-operator workflow in roaming has been basically unchanged for the last 20 years. In the near future however, new services like NB-IoT, LTE-M or VoLTE and other quality-based services will drastically increase the complexity of inter-operator discount agreements and respective settlements. This blockchain-based solution is the start of automating sections of our workflow. It will put us in a position to handle the additional complexity while increasing overall efficiency.”