IBM, Telefónica Collaborate to Manage International Call Traffic via Blockchain Technology

Spanish telecom giant Telefónica has entered into a collaboration agreement with IBM to manage international mobile phone calls by applying blockchain technology. The firms believe that the partnership will help streamline Telefónica’s business processes prevalent in the telecommunications sector through the use of blockchain technology.

The pilot project is aimed to enhance the reliability and transparency of the information registered from different operators while routing an international call. Using IBM’s blockchain platform technology powered by the IBM Cloud, Telefónica will monitor each international call, and its attributes (mainly the origin, destination, and duration) in a decentralized platform which all operator networks participating in the routing can access. As a result, data generated in the process will remain unchanged, while giving each of the participating parties immediate access to accurate information. The application of blockchain technology in such processes will bring in transparency, accuracy, and efficiency to the telco sector.

Commenting on the development, Gonzalo Martín-Villa, Global Director of Innovation of Telefónica stated, “This project is one of our first initiatives to take advantage of blockchain adoption in many of our business processes. We believe that the paradigm of the decentralization of processes that facilitates blockchain fits very well in the telecommunications sector and can help us greatly improve the way in which we have been traditionally integrating with our partners. Blockchain will allow operators to generate a new layer of trust in the Internet-based not so much on the organizations that generate data and transactions but on the data themselves.”

In addition to calls, the solution can also be applied to other services such as data consumption, authentication processes, cloud computing or data storage. This will help instill confidence among operators, suppliers, and technology manufacturers involved in the provision of digital services.

Moreover, applying blockchain technology in the telco industry would be useful in creating a common access platform independent of the owner or entity that operates those systems. Members of the network can access this common pool of data and information, which is otherwise stored and generated by different sources and systems. Blockchain will, therefore, offer an additional layer of privacy by allowing different participants in a process to access the same information safely.

The project will purportedly help Telefónica improve the efficiency of its business processes such as billing, accounting, and reporting. It will also identify fraudulent activity and resolve address issues, disputes, commercial loss due to uncollected revenues, or discrepancies in information.

Ignacio Martín Santos, General Manager of Telefónica’s account in IBM also remarked, “In a world increasingly focused on data, customer experience, trust and digital ecosystems, blockchain can help telecommunications companies to optimize internal processes or, as in the case of the project we developed with Telefónica, to generate greater confidence among the different partners in the sector, thus avoiding processes of reconciliation of information about calls and other advantages such as lower risk, management time and lower costs.”

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