Telecommunication service providers are openly accepting the disruptive power of Blockchain technology in their systems. Blockchain has the power to overcome the challenges the telecom industry is facing for some time now.
Some of the well-known companies and universities like British telecom, Huawei, Samsung, Verizon, etc. have secured patents in blockchain-telecom solutions.
The impact Blockchain can make on the telecommunications industry is extensive and thus worth looking into. Of these companies mentioned some like Huawei holds most core 5G essential patents and are actively working on the enablement of 5G across the world.
Naturally, the very first impact of Blockchain on the telecom industry Deepak talks about is the enablement of the 5G network.
First and foremost: enabling 5G network
For the realization of 5G’s ubiquitous access across various networks, Communication Service providers will need to handle different access nodes and diverse access mechanisms. Selecting the fastest access node for every user or machine will be a central challenge for the telecom industry in the future.
The 3GPP (LTE, GPRS) and non-3GPP (WiMax, WLAN, WiFi) access networks in a given area can be networked via a blockchain where each access point (WiFi router, SP cell tower, etc.) can serve as a node in the network monitoring the devices. The service provider can accept a new device into the network and the nearest access point can provide service to the device.
Preventing subscriber ID & Roaming Fraud and the provision of e-Sim
In 2021, the total amount of telecom revenue loss due to fraud is estimated to be 2.22% of revenues or $39.89 Billion. An appalling 28% increase as compared to 2019, which was approximately $11.6 Billion.
These frauds are mainly related to subscriber identification, data charges in roaming, etc.
Blockchain can be implemented to improve the authentication aspect. The advantages of blockchain’s multiple, decentralized storage are robustness and trust. In addition, Blockchain can also minimize costs for fraud detection applications while reducing the losses due to fraud.
Public-private cryptography inherent in a blockchain can be used to identify a device and link that device to a subscriber’s identity. Instead of sending the unique ID of every user on the cellular network, a public key can be generated from a private key stored securely on the phone. Neither the carrier nor any other third party needs to know the private key.
The ‘eSIM’ solution can help protect private information that is encrypted in the private key. The future would not only be on a more secure network but also go sim-less as no physical sim will be required. Thus eliminating the manufacturing cost of a sim.
Minimizing location inaccuracy
In a mobile communication network, if GPS signals are weak, locating the mobile terminals becomes difficult and so does verifying the authenticity of the location broadcast by other nodes.
A cellular positioning method, as described in patent no. CN107172586A can minimize this inaccuracy. Using this method, relative locations of the terminals can be stored in a Blockchain, whose blocks can be regarded as trusted nodes of a consensus mechanism; and the users can accurately position their own location information in the network.
Facilitating the Internet of Things
The IoT network carries extremely sensitive data of a company’s core assets including customer information. This makes data and network security a necessary but expensive pillar of IoT connectivity.
Using a sufficiently large number of nodes, a blockchain can enable secure and errorless peer-to-peer(P2P) connectivity for thousands of IoT devices with networks that are cost-efficient and self-managed. These blockchain network nodes can be represented by single embedded IoT sensors with the ability to verify every block being changed within the blockchain.
Machines within a manufacturing plant will be able to communicate and authenticate themselves via the blockchain to steer the production processes.
Prevention of phone theft
In case of phone theft, the process of blocking the phone today is manual and can only be done by the mobile phone or the network operator. Additionally, telecom providers have limited capabilities to detect a stolen device as they are reliant on a Global Operator database which needs periodic updating.
With blockchain Communication service providers can store unique device/SIM data along with customer profiles, instantly block the stolen device, and also inform any third party of the change of status. Additionally, the customer’s home country operator can lodge an FIR and store it on the blockchain network. This would enable telecom operators around the world to detect stolen devices.
Besides many other challenges, one of the main problems the telecom industry faces today is generating revenue. The telecom industry has been losing a little average revenue per user over the years in almost every region across the globe. Blockchain can change that.
With technology innovation, improved security, transparency, data immutability, and control, Blockchain will entirely change the telecommunication industry’s business model.
Companies like At&T, Huawei, etc have already put their step forward toward the amalgamation of Blockchain technology into the Telecom industry. Blockchain is sure to bring a lot of changes in the industry, changes that the telecom industry has long awaited.