Three operators join forces for telco blockchain platforms

Telco interest in blockchain technology is rising for services from mobile finance, Internet of Things payments and security. Now three of them – Softbank, Sprint and Far EasTone, together with blockchain specialist TBCASoft – have launched a new consortium, the Carrier Blockchain Study Group (CBSG).

The founders have already demonstrated a cross-carrier payments platform system targeted at applications like top-ups, mobile wallet roaming and IoT payments. It will now invite other telcos to help define the requirements for a far broader platform based on this first proof of concept.

The CBSG is building on work done in February by Softbank of Japan, its US subsidiary Sprint and TBCASoft, which agreed an alliance to develop blockchain technology for telcos and kicked off a technical trial of the cross-carrier system, which could be integrated into operators’ existing systems. This system links back end systems and aims to eliminate late or failed transactions between telcos.

“Softbank can successfully integrate our BSS and mobile app servers with TBCASoft’s blockchain platform in a short period of time at a reasonable cost,” said Takeshi Fukuizumi, a VP at the Japanese MNO.

“We aim to work with global telecom carriers to build a very secure and high performance blockchain system where disruptive services can be ubiquitously provided to billions of telecom carrier subscribers worldwide,” added Ling Wu, founder and CEO of TBCASoft.

“Mobile payment has a huge demand in the Asian market,” said Mike Lee, EVP of FarEasTone, the first new recruit to the initiative. “The blockchain platform provides the solution to reshape the competition in this new business territory by having carriers work together on a distributed ledger system. More importantly, through the CBSG consortium, carriers can join together to fully exploit the potential of blockchain technology for providing global services.”

As well as defining requirements, the consortium will function as a working group for telcos to resolve technology, business and regulatory issues.