Exploring how emerging technologies can improve the telecom regulatory landscape
Words by Prashant Kumar Singh, Technical Lead in Blockchain CoE for Blockchain SME, Wipro
Telecom companies can significantly improve their services by sharing or collaborating information among themselves. It is essential that these companies cooperate to manage consumer information and services as collaboration is the key to improved customer experience and innovative services in the industry. In this article, we will take a look at some collaborative industry applications employing innovative blockchain technologies.
Although regulatory authorities are trying to bring CSPs (Communication service providers) together, telecom companies lack a secure and reliable platform or channel for collaboration. Today, with the advent of emerging technologies like blockchain, we can envision multitude of applications by enabling collaboration as new business models will emerge with partnerships and the sharing economy. Emerging technologies promise to improve the telecom regulatory landscape by providing innovative solutions.
Given that the telecom industry and processes tend to involve multiple stakeholders (e.g. telecom companies, infrastructure providers, clearing houses, KYC providers and other 3rd parties) and there are often multiple types of registries and databases/ records required to be maintained, this complex space looks upbeat for adopting advanced technologies.
With the capabilities that blockchain and DLT bring, it appears to be a match and multiple applications could be reimagined. In essence, blockchain or DLT could provide a base platform for telecom services, telecom compliance functions, and industry-wide registries. A few potential blockchain applications are discussed below:
UCC (Unsolicited Commercial Communication)
UCC is one of the major issues which industry is trying to grapple with globally. UCC is a commercial communication that a subscriber opts not to receive. Telecom Regulatory is the centralized body managing the commercial communication.
There DLT based blockchain application is seen as a solution to overcome problems of subscriber data leak, spam messages, fraud penalization, law violations etc.The current system of registry and preferences is a case where the regulator is involved in the day to day activities and currently does not have traceability, enforceability for violations, etc.
The blockchain-based system would envisage that the regulator only enforces regulations, while telecom operators take up the major responsibilities. The overall requirement is to strengthen the whole ecosystem, and to bring all the participants together where exchange of information will be seamless, the customer preference & convenience is taken care of, the processes across systems are streamlined and leads to reduction in fraudulent activities.
Keeping the above requirement in consideration, a DLT solution has been ideated to regulate the current eco-system of commercial communication, which respects consumer’s consent addressing the consumer privacy concerns. It also includes an approach to efficiently store the Consumer Preferences and Consent at their respective registered Access Providers by implementing the concept of Sparse Merkle Trees as a data structure, to store the said preferences and consent.
The solution also focuses on ensuring privacy (Subscriber Preference and Consent) across the Telecom Service Providers. Additionally, we have an AI Module that is used to identify an Unregistered Telemarketer (spam messages) and a Reputation AI model to implement an incentivisation scheme, which in turn ensures discipline in communication. In addition, as a future enhancement, AI can be employed towards learning- based automatic detection of Consumer Preference.
The components of the proposed DLT based solution are shown in figure 1.