Blockchain seemed like an innovation that telcos might struggle to find a place for. It is therefore hardly surprising that the first ‘aha’ blockchain moment would come from Turkcell.
Turkcell is a company that is getting a reputation as one that is doing all the things that the industry thought that a telco should do and never did. Through analytics and advanced network management, it is building an ecosystem that makes sense and makes money. Rakuten is going in the same direction.
Blockchain is now an integral part of the progress.
This particular solution is about identity management and customer experience. The age of multiple log ins, multiple passwords and massive frustration comes to an end when you use blockchain for identity management.
Enter the ecosystem once and you are authenticated. This means there is no need to enter any further passwords, PINs or pointless additional information as you switch from viewing content, managing your money and arranging your travel.
The beauty of a solution around identity is that it addresses a problem that telcos have been struggling with for some years – trust. But concentrating on customer experience (not just in press releases) and implementing a solution that allows customers secure access to the ecosystem with one log in is very sensible. Embed blockchain security and robustness in related services such as digital payments, barter systems and a range of IoT applications and you have a loyal customer.
Having seen an example such as the Turkcell one in action it is suddenly a lot easier to visualise different applications which would greatly improve telco efficiency and cut costs.
In billing, and specifically charging and payments, you can see the benefits of having a ledger that is not changeable. Every transaction would be tagged and counted and verified. Disputes would be dramatically reduced.
Blockchains could run the relationships between telcos and large enterprise customers. For years, enterprises have been annoyed by the complexity of their bills and even more annoyed by the lack of inventory management. Being able to sign off a significant telecoms bill easily and quickly because it is based on blockchain records would be music to the ears of the vast majority of telecoms managers. Knowing, absolutely, what equipment they have – and whether it is use or in a cupboard – would make them very happy.
Then think interconnect and the problems of disputes and rebates and penalties and then think that all that could go away if a blockchain was used to account for it all.
Blockchain really does seem to be something that makes sense and something that lives up to – even surpasses – the hype.