Did you know that blockchain in telecom market is estimated to reach USD 993.8 million by 2023? According to recent research by a leading market research company, adoption of blockchain in telecom market is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 84.4% during 2018-2023.
Even though the technology is not fully mature, decision makers in the telecom industry should explore the potential benefits offered by the technology to improve several aspects of the telecom industry. Early birds who adopt the technology can stay in trend to have an edge over the competition and to boost their overall revenue.
Let’s take a look at the potential ways by which blockchain can benefit the telecom industry.
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According to a research survey by the Fraud Control Association, the global telecom industry has suffered a huge loss of $38.1 billion due to fraudulent activities. This is where the security features of blockchain technology offer a helping hand.
Currently, when a user is in “roaming” to a partner network, the latter sends the Call Detail Records (CDR) as an offline mechanism through a Data Clearing House (DCH), which later sends the Transferred Account Procedures files to the home network. Roaming fraud happens when a subscriber accesses the resources of the Host Public Mobile Network via the Visited Public Mobile Network. However, even though the Host Network is not able to charge the end customers for the same, it is obliged to pay the visited network for roaming services. In addition, outside the host network, it is hard to detect fraud due to the time lag in data exchange between the host and the visited networks.
Implementing blockchain in telecom can reduce roaming fraud to a great extent. It could involve smart contracts instead of conventional agreements between the roaming partners so that only the terms mentioned in the contract are executed in case of a fraud attempt. This way, the host network can accurately calculate billing amounts for roaming, and the transactions can be validated as soon as the invoices are validated. In addition, it downsizes the operational cost of the system considerably.
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IoT networks are generally complex, and the connected devices in these networks are fragmented among a myriad of protocols. They are often anchored to centralized gates, with smart devices, infrastructure, and critical industrial systems, all connected in the same network. This makes it an easy prey to malicious entities scouting to commit cyber fraud. As IoT sensors carry sensitive information about core assets connected to important client data, prime concerns of IoT connectivity are data and network security.
With major telecom conglomerates widely engaging in the distribution of IoT-enabled services; blockchain technology can offer better security, resiliency and can even automate the management of device transactions. A blockchain allows for highly secure peer-to-peer self-managed mesh networks using numerous nodes positioned at various stages of the segment. These decentralized nodes monitor and validate each data change in the network, thus providing enhanced immutability. Since the data is stored in a decentralized ledger, the sensitive customer information is secure, and in no way can be tampered with or manipulated.
Another key benefit of blockchain in telecom is that it shortens the authentication time, prevent intrusion and spoofing, and unlock demand-based revenue streams for device data. It can also remove common checkpoints and minimize the attack surface for vulnerabilities.
In a digital network, a consumer is often requested by various platforms to fill in their personal information, which can include sensitive data as well. This data is continuously distributed through various channels, across a host of services and devices. If this data falls into the hands of cybercriminals, they can easily use a customer’s identity for malicious activities and even track their financial information and manipulate it.
It is a tedious task using the existing system to secure customer details and prevent data theft. Majority of the existing solutions are complex; and have many points of vulnerability, making it extremely difficult to manage identity on digital networks.
With the help of decentralized identities (DiDs), individuals can have complete control over their sensitive data. DiDs are secret URLs which are stored on a blockchain ledger, with each URL assigned to different details of a user’s identity, like their name, birthdate and social security number. Currently, when a new user registers on a new website or app, they will have to share their name, email id, and other basic information. DiDs ensure that this process is faster and more secure. The app that asks for credentials will display a QR code which they could scan, and the digital wallet app automatically transfers their relevant DiDs over the blockchain, and the app would then grant access.
Telecommunication companies can provide decentralized identity management services to their customers. With the advancement in blockchain technology, they only need to simply integrate an identity management system with their already existing features to level up the security as well as enhance the authorization possibilities. This would also allow companies to store relevant information and help customers to authorize and manage their identities in various platforms using simple one-step verification processes.
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Even though it’s still in the research and development stage, the success of 5G will have to be backed up with huge investments. Such humongous investments on a centralized system pave way for both security and modification concerns. 5G networks face greater complexity as they have to provide dynamic connectivity for billions of devices across an array of access points whereas, in existing networks, the rules for access are centralized and pushed to client devices. In addition, the business rules are not provisioned real time and can cause delays for devices in receiving connection policies and related services. These rules cannot be easily amended and could even lead to failure in the client-server model.
Integrating Blockchain in telecom can aid the industry in its race toward 5G by autonomously monitoring and regulating their networks. Integration of blockchain enables each access point to act as a monitoring node, thus optimizing bandwidth allocation and ensuring dynamic security. the benefits include instant monetization of diverse connection types through smart contracts, Easier to manage local connection prices purely based on supply and demand in the area, easier to Share faster and regulated local connectivity for reliable service to the device etc.
Rules and agreements regarding access can be set out in a smart contract that can execute autonomously and instantly from any point across the network. This system can not only enable local networks such as private Wi-Fi to monetize access but can also dynamically set local connection prices based on supply and demand.
Currently running as the front runner for telecom innovations, blockchain is changing the economic social landscape of digital communications worldwide. It is gaining momentum in the telecom sector and rest assured, it will revolutionize the industry.