Telcos size up blockchain opportunities

Ravi Kumar Palepu,

SVP & Global Solutions Head,
Telecom, Media & Technology

Published: July 24, 2018

Blockchain has now hit the mainstream, generating a great deal of hype around its role in supporting cryptocurrency boom. The telco industry has taken notice and is keen to realize the benefits it can offer in areas such as capacity planning, identity management, and quality of service.

But as a foundational technology, it's not something that carriers, with their remarkably complex network infrastructures, can easily switch to. It involves a great deal of planning and considerations like security, scalability, and cost, must be taken into account before taking the leap.

While banks and insurers plough ahead with blockchain deployments, telcos have rightly been cautious about taking the plunge. Yet, as more and more proof of concepts emerge, this is likely to change quickly.

A fine mess

Contract management is one area in the telco industry where we'll witness blockchain coming into its own. As things stand, it can be a significant challenge for wholesale carriers as they don't own the entire customer journey.

For example, a carrier might have a global bank as a customer, which has a network of more than 20 different countries. This bank signs a global agreement with a CSP or CSP supplier, who then partners with various local carriers to ensure services are delivered in regions where CSP doesn't have a presence. Along the way, a myriad of different agreements and SLAs are required at each stage, making the whole process extremely complicated.

When a customer complains about connectivity, the wholesale carrier needs to confirm when and where the problem happened, and which stakeholder is at fault. Historically, this required the carrier to get its partners to integrate data feeds into the carrier's stack, before creating a platform to analyze the data to find out what happened.

This is a very convoluted and resource-intensive process, and it doesn't always give the carrier a complete view of the issue, leaving the customer frustrated. Moreover, when we consider that an SLA breach can cost the carrier hundreds of millions of pounds, this information black hole is a huge business risk.

Keeping it simple

Blockchain has the answer to this dilemma and can bring transparency to the ecosystem by enabling all parties to contribute and share information. Whether it's network engagement or billing/operational support, each partner, supplier, and customer involved in that customer engagement can feed their respective information into the blockchain.

As blockchain is a transparent distributed ledger, each stakeholder can update his/her thread in real-time with the agreed information and only worry about their piece of the puzzle. The carrier can then pull all this data together and apply analytics to derive meaningful insights.

This means that the moment an outage happens on a partner network, everyone is aware of it instantly. So if a customer complains about his/her network going down, every stakeholder knows exactly what's going on, since the data that customers and partners feed into the chain makes the whole process much more transparent.

This transparency is mutually beneficial and can protect businesses against any "passing the buck" scenarios, as everything is right there in plain sight. Not only that, it also enables carriers to identify and fix problems more quickly, so they are more likely to stay within the terms of their SLA. All of this helps wholesalers offer better services and connectivity than ever before.

In today's customer-driven environment, quality of service matters more than ever. While it's an increasingly important differentiator for wholesalers, visibility is often a challenge when it comes to issue identification and resolution. By using blockchain, underpinned with analytics, wholesale operators can now get a complete view of their network performance. It gives them the ability to quickly identify issues and address their root causes, ensuring continuity of service on a global scale.

Ultimately, more efficient, cheaper networks lead to more satisfied customers and that's where telcos will really notice the impact on revenue.

This article was originally published on Coin Rivet

Ravi Kumar Palepu

SVP & Global Solutions Head, Telecom, Media & Technology Practice

In his role, Ravi has led technology council for Telco across locations and drove consistent standards, best practices as well as domain and technical competency across the Telco accounts. He was also part of the Global Technology Office leadership and has bridged the gap between the GTO and the global Telco accounts.  

Learn More

Virtusa a Visionary, 2 years in a row

2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for IT Services for Communications Service Providers, Worldwide

Related content