ITW Global Leaders’ Forum demonstrates blockchain

The successful Proof of Concept shows how blockchain-enabled settlement between multiple carriers can revolutionize wholesale telecoms sector by streamlining complex transactions.

October 23, 2018

ITW Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF) has announced the successful completion of a multi-lateral blockchain Proof of Concept (PoC) involving several of its members. The PoC, led by PCCW Global and Colt Technology Services, in collaboration with BT, Orange, Telefonica and Telstra, has demonstrated the viability of a platform that can settle voice transactions between multiple carriers in minutes rather than hours.

The breakthrough is the latest in a series of blockchain PoCs carried out by GLF members and supported by technology partner and blockchain specialist Clear. The trial just completed is the first to involve a multi-lateral series of relationships among the wholesale telecommunications industry, and points to a future of secure and frictionless settlement across the sector.

The GLF is now reviewing options around a potential governance structure to develop the technology further and implement a solution for the industry that replaces existing and cumbersome processes for settlement of voice as well as other types of transactions, examples such as mobile roaming or data on demand.

Mr. Marc Halbfinger, Chief Executive Officer of PCCW Global and the Chairman of the GLF, said, “We are very pleased that this latest Proof of Concept has expanded to include more carriers. It has been a strong belief within the GLF that innovative technologies such as blockchain can be harnessed to improve the overall efficiency of the industry, and it is now clear that the industry can look forward to the benefit of becoming further aligned. Industry cooperation in this area will be a game changer for the whole sector.”

Mr. Carl Grivner, Chief Executive Officer of Colt, said, “Following the successful trial with live data by Colt and PCCW Global, it was an important next step to prove the use case for blockchain technology in our industry by repeating it with multiple carriers. This latest PoC signals nothing less than the future of telecoms, whereby intensive manual practices can be securely automated across the wholesale ecosystem. This is a major step forward by Colt and its partners, meaning we can now invest further resources into driving both our and our customers’ businesses forward using the power of blockchain.”

The first GLF-backed PoC saw PCCW Global and Colt working bi-laterally to demonstrate how the inter-carrier settlement of wholesale international voice services could be automated through the use of blockchain. By using technology from Clear, the two partners were able to reduce a normally labour-intensive process from hours to minutes.

The PoC was expanded in May, when BT, Orange, Telefonica and Telstra joined the trial to study the viability of the blockchain platform to settle traffic in a multi-carrier environment. The PoC was able to demonstrate that the initial trial that saw successful input of live data feeds into the ledger, enabling traffic to be automatically verified and settled between two carriers, could be scaled to work across multiple touchpoints.

Mr. Damien Staples, Vice President, Global Wholesale Voice, BT, said, “BT is pleased to have joined this initiative aimed at simplifying key settlement activities between leading global carriers. It is essential that the carrier industry innovates to reduce complexity and reduce operating costs. This PoC has been an important stepping stone in that journey.”

Mr. Pierre-Louis de Guillebon, Chief Executive Officer of Orange International Carriers, said, “It was essential to establish that blockchain-powered settlement of international voice transactions could be done on a multi-lateral basis and in a secure environment that is able to handle the fast pace of transactions between operators. We are proud to have been a part of that proof.”

Mr. Juan Carlos Bernal, Chief Executive Officer of Telefónica’s International Wholesale Business, said, “We believe that blockchain has the potential to drive forward the entire wholesale sector, helping it to gain efficiency as well as acting as a sound base for the launch of vital new services.”

Mr. Oliver Camplin Warner, Telstra’s International Sales and Service Executive, said, “We are delighted to be part of this pioneering PoC to explore how blockchain can bring increased efficiency, productivity, scalability and security to wholesale telecommunications transactions.”