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IBM Aims to Provide Blockchain Solutions to India’s Telecommunications Operators

Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:15 PM
Mark Emem
Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:15 PM

Tech giant IBM has hinted that telecommunication firms in India could soon be using blockchain solutions in mobile number portability and in the Do Not Call registry.

According to the IBM Research vice president and CTO of IBM India/South Asia, Sriram Raghavan, the tech giant could launch blockchain solutions focused on Do No Call registries and mobile number portability for Indian telcos as early as next year.

“We have completed proof of concepts and pilots with all the major telecom providers and with TRAI [Telecom Regulatory Authority of India] in this space. We anticipate going into the New Year, we’ll start to see blockchain solutions getting rolled out,” said Raghavan as initially reported  by The Economic Times.

India’s Telecommunications Regulator

Besides the telcos, IBM Research has also been collaborating with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to address coordination issues among multiple entities with respect to mobile number portability and the Do Not Call registry. Per Raghavan, the blockchain solution for the mobile number portability and Do Not Call registry service will enhance the functions of TRAI:

“[Blockchain] gives TRAI as a regulator more visibility and spot malfeasance quickly. Mobile number portability too is a multiparty process involving a minimum of two telecom providers, where blockchain can play a role.”

Earlier this year in February, TRAI reviewed various blockchain proofs of concepts before unveiling a set of regulations three months later. What is remaining now is for the telcos to pick vendors and then set up the systems following the guidelines issued by TRAI.

Pushing for the Sector’s Interests

The blockchain efforts by IBM, TRAI and the country’s telcos comes about two months since one of India’s most influential bodies in the wider internet and telecommunications sector, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), formed a blockchain committee tasked with engaging with the various stakeholders in order to develop the distributed ledger technology ecosystem in the country.

“The IAMAI Blockchain Committee will focus on creating dialogue between all stakeholders; curate and create content to aid skill development and move towards creating a participative economy with the usage of blockchain,” the chairperson of the blockchain committee, Tina Singh, said as CCN.com reported at the time.

Besides its work with Indian telcos and the sector regulator, IBM’s other contribution to the world’s second most populous country with regards to blockchain technology was mid this year when the tech giant launched an educational initiative on distributed ledger technology.

This saw a 12-week online course unveiled on blockchain design, architecture and uses in partnership with the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning of India.

Featured image from Shutterstock.