Competition for blockchain is heating up in the telecoms industry. Firstly, digital solutions company CSG has announced the opening of a blockchain technology lab. The NASDAQ listed company boasts 300 telecoms clients including AT&T, Charter Communications, TalkTalk, Telefonica, Telstra and Verizon. The second piece of news is the expansion of the Carrier Blockchain Study Group.
The lab is currently focused on blockchain’s potential to improve CSG’s ‘interconnect and partner settlements’ platform. In other words for payments when customers roam between providers. CSG has targeted five key areas where blockchain could improve existing business practices: agreement, event recording, financial transactions, accounting and financial settlement.
As a result, CSG is particularly looking at blockchain’s smart contract and settlement capabilities. Smart contracts would allow open exchanges of contracts between carriers, thereby speeding up the time it takes for contacts to be agreed. Blockchain settlement would have a similar effect.
Chad Dunavant, head of global product management at CSG, said: “In an era where change is the new constant, it is imperative companies look to innovation and technology as a means to keep pace with consumer demand. Our leadership and knowledge in the wholesale space creates a competitive edge to identify opportunities where blockchain technology can harness success for our customers.”
Carrier Blockchain Study Group
In late February the Carrier Blockchain Study Group (CBSG) announced three new members, increasing its participants to 15.
Taiwan’s Asia Pacific Telecom (APT), U.A.E.-based Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC) and South Africa’s MTN Group (MTN) have all joined the consortium, which was set up in 2017.
CBSG has also seen technological progress.
In January 2019, CBSG members Taiwan-based Far EasTone Telecommunications Co and Japan’s SoftBank Corp. completed mobile transactions on the network of the other carrier. Pursuant to this, the two companies have begun talks on future business models and commercial trials.
Regarding both these developments, Ling Wu, Founder and CEO of TBCASoft, and Co-Chairman of the CBSG Consortium said: “I am very happy to welcome three progressive carriers into the consortium. This increases the number of mobile users that we may reach through our consortium members, to 1.3+ billion. “
“I am also excited to announce the first successful field trials of our blockchain-based cross-carrier, cross-border payment service, by the CBSG Consortium carrier members. TBCASoft is working together with Far EasTone, SoftBank, and soon other CBSG members on a production plan so we can provide secure blockchain-based payment services to their global users in the near future.”
The CBSG was formed in September 2017 by US-based blockchain company TBCASoft, SoftBank Corp, Sprint, and Taiwan’s Far EasTone. A year ago LG Uplus Corp, Etisalat Group, KT Corporation, and Telefónica signed up. And in the middle of last year, the group expanded to include Asia’s Axiata Group Berhad, Philippine-based PLDT, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International, Turkey’s Turkcell, Vietnam’s Viettel, and Kuwait-headquartered Zain Group.
Since then we believe Telefónica has withdrawn as it’s no longer listed on the CBSG website.