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IBM Looks To Offer Blockchain Solutions To Telcos

International Business Machines (IBM) is looking to offer telecom companies blockchain solutions that can be used in mobile number portability (MNP) and ‘Do Not Call’ (DNC) registries, The Economic Times reported.

“We have completed proof of concepts and pilots with all the major telecom providers and with Trai in this space,” Sriram Raghavan, Vice President of IBM Research told the paper.

Raghavan added that they expect blockchain solutions to roll out next year, but he did not name the telecom companies.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has been keen to adopt blockchain technology to check the menace of unsolicited commercial communication or telemarketing that results in mobile users getting unwanted calls and SMS at the oddest of hours.

The regulator and telecom providers have been working with tech firms such as IBM to know how blockchain could address issues of coordination among multiple parties.

Information regarding a customer’s consent for DNC and whether the consent is respected gets recorded on the blockchain, Raghavan said. “This gives TRAI, as a regulator, more visibility and spot malfeasance quickly,” he said.

Similarly, blockchain can play a role in mobile number portability, which is a multi-party process.

In July, the regulator revamped the regulations on pesky calls and spam as it announced new rules mandating subscribers’ consent for receiving telemarketing messages. The regulations also involve the adoption of blockchain or the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), to ensure regulatory compliance while allowing innovation in the market.

Thus, the telecom service providers would have to select IT vendors and set up the systems in accordance with the TRAI guidelines. “We had a meeting (on December 10) and the telecom service providers are now in the process of aligning their vendors,” a TRAI official told the paper.

Telecom companies have promised to roll out DLT-based systems in the next couple of months, the official added.

If the Do Not Call registry implements blockchain solutions, it would be the first to move towards DLT, the report said.

Blockchain, which first emerged as the system used by cryptocurrency firms, is a network of nodes that contain information. These nodes are used to validate a transaction. Once verified, the transaction is combined with other transactions to create a block of data for the ledger. The new block is then added to the existing blockchain in a way that is permanent and unalterable.

Apart from being used by cryptocurrency firms, the blockchain technology finds use in multiple fields such as credible database management, government programmes and at several steps in the supply chain management. – Moneycontrol

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