Four of the world’s largest telecommunications operators will cooperate in a joint pilot project in which block chain technology could be applied to roaming agreements between operators.
According to Mobile Europe, Deutsche Telekom and its U.S. mobile and wireless network operator T-Mobile US, a block-chain-based solution for automated roaming management will be tested together with Spain’s Telefónica and France’s Orange.
The trial will be conducted through the GSM Association, an industry group comprising some 750 global mobile networks. It will use technology developed by Deutsche Telekom’s innovation department, 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 the formulation, signing and implementation of roaming agreements between operators, often on an individual basis.
However, the telecommunications companies believe that block chain technology will help to speed up the process while ensuring that conditions and tariffs remain tamper-proof. They also believe that if successful, the platform could be extended in scope, allowing faster and more effective billing between operators.
Rolf Nafziger, Senior Vice President of Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier, is quoted in the same media as saying he has expanded the platform to enable faster and more effective agreements between operators,
“The inter-operator workflow in roaming has remained essentially unchanged for 20 years. This solution, based on a block chain, is the beginning of the automation of parts of our workflow. It will enable us to handle additional complexity while increasing overall efficiency.”
The companies say the tests will be a first – no group of major operators has ever jointly tested a block-chain-based solution with a legal framework and a common governance model.