IBM and major Spanish telecommunications firm Telefónica have partnered to apply Blockchain technology to managing international mobile phone call traffic

Spanish multinational telecommunications giant Telefónica is planning to implement blockchain technology to streamline core business processes.

Headquartered in Madrid, Telefónica is the second largest corporation in Spain, behind the Santander Group. It owns Telefónica de España, which is the largest fixed phone and ADSL operator in Spain, Telefónica Móviles, the largest mobile phone operator in Spain, and Terra Networks, an Internet subsidiary.

Telefónica is collaborating with tech giant IBM to address complex challenges in its services that register data and information from different sources regarding business and network processes. The companies initial blockchain project is aimed at improving the reliability and transparency of information collected by different networks when routing international calls.

Telefónica will be using the IBM Blockchain Platform to track in real time the certainty and traceability of each international call and its attributes, mainly origin, destination and duration. Access to the platform will be available for all operators in the chain.

“This project is one of our first initiatives to secure real benefits from the adoption of blockchain in our core business,” said Gonzalo Martín-Villa, Chief Innovation Officer of Telefónica. “We believe that the new paradigm of process decentralization that blockchain facilitates perfectly fits with the telecommunications industry and can help us to significantly improve the way we have been traditionally solving the integrations between partners. Blockchain will allow operators to generate a new layer of confidence in the Internet based not on the players that generate the data and the transactions but on the data itself.”

Telefónica said that blockchain can help them discover fraudulent behavior within end-to-end processes and resolve recurring problems between vendors, providers and operators, such as dispute resolution, commercial losses due to uncollected revenues or discrepancies between the information recorded by each peer.

“In a world that is increasingly focused on data, customer experience, trust and digital ecosystems, blockchain can help communications service providers to streamline internal processes or, as in the project we are working with Telefónica, to increase trust among the different partners in the communications ecosystem, avoiding the need for call data reconciliation and thus achieving high potential benefits like reduced risk, time saving and cost removal.”, said Ignacio Martín Santos, Managing Director for Telefónica Integrated Account in IBM.

At present, the telecom industry has a lot of trust issues and transparency challenges due to the involvement of multiple entities. And there are no clear system to track end-to-end activities of every entity. This is why the market size for blockchain telecom projects is expected to grow from $46.6 million in 2018 to $993.8 million by 2023, according to a report from Research and Markets. However, the report said that growing concerns over blockchain’s uncertain regulatory status and the lack of common standards can hinder the growth of the market.

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