15 May 2023
The GSMA has announced wholesale roaming trials for its next-generation telco blockchain network – the GSMA eBusiness Network – to demonstrate the benefits of blockchain technology for mobile network operators (MNOs).
Omantel and Telkomsel have already signed up to the GSMA eBusiness Network Accelerator programme to monitor inter-operator roaming processes, support roaming agreement negotiations and expedite billing and settlement. The trials will go live in June 2023.
Blockchain technology securely automates the complex business processes for wholesale roaming, ensuring that the interoperation between MNOs is accurate, transparent, and verified in the shortest possible time. Omantel and Telkomsel anticipate multiple benefits from using blockchain, including operational efficiency through decreased manual intervention, greater accuracy in charging, reduced billing disputes and rejections and quicker time to market for roaming products and offerings.
“As Indonesia’s leading digital telco, Telkomsel consistently reaches beyond in unlocking more potential for the country’s progress. During MWC23 in Barcelona, Telkomsel joined the GSMA eBusiness Network Accelerator program with the hope of opening opportunities for further implementation of blockchain network technology in Indonesia. By conducting a joint study and exploring blockchain technology, we can optimise our wholesale roaming clearing and settlement processes in the future. Being the first digital telco in Southeast Asia to join the initiative in 2023, Telkomsel will continue to evaluate the results of the blockchain technology trial and bring more inclusive and sustainable access to world-class connectivity in Indonesia,” said Wong Soon Nam, chief planning & transformation officer, Telkomsel.
“We want to lead the pack with the implementation of this revolutionary blockchain solution, which will not only automate our systems further, but also help us to optimise costs and become more efficient by reducing margins of error,” said Talal Al Mamari, CEO, Omantel. “In addition to the operational benefits that we expect to achieve, we foresee an improvement in customer-experience by way of fewer disputes in invoices and improved roaming services and products. It will also allow us to partner with more operators to exchange data over blockchain, thereby enabling future technology developments like 5G Standalone Roaming and the Billing and Charging Evolution. Such initiatives reflect our commitment of enriching the experience of our customers to complement our wide international roaming footprint over 200 countries with more than 700 partners.”
“Blockchain technology is ideally suited to streamline the wholesale roaming clearing and settlement process. It does this by enabling the automation of business processes that are becoming increasingly complex as we enter an era of connectivity defined by 5G and IoT,” said Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer, GSMA. “We are asking our members to join the trials so they can realise the benefits of the blockchain, along with their roaming partners, and lay the foundations for Web3, with fully automated contract management, settlement and payments.”
The roaming application services offered by the GSMA eBusiness Network ensure more transparent and secure roaming operations for MNOs. The applications are built on blockchain-based automated workflows, using smart contracts to create a single-source-of-truth in roaming contract management, data clearing and financial settlement.
Under the GSMA eBusiness Network Accelerator programme, MNOs can benefit from mentoring, services and training resources including GSMA Node for easy access to the GSMA eBusiness Network; GSMA Negotiator, an online negotiation environment for roaming managers to forecast, analyse, negotiate and digitally sign roaming agreements; and GSMA Settlement, an automated settlement environment designed to reduce disputes and expedite the wholesale roaming billing and charging process.
The GSMA eBusiness Network is a private-permissioned industry-wide blockchain solution, launched in 2021 to support a wide range of operator business requirements and transform the wholesale roaming clearing and settlement process. It was formed following collaborative research between the GSMA and CK Hutchison Group Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, Verizon and Vodafone who were the founding members of the Blockchain for Wholesale Roaming (BWR) initiative, convened by the GSMA.