Oman’s telecom operator Omantel, and Indonesian Telkomsel has signed up to GSMA’s ebusiness network accelerator program to trial next gen telco blockchain network for roaming. The new network will speed up roaming processes, support roaming agreement negotiations and expedite billing and settlement. The trials will go live in June 2023.

The GSMA eBusiness Network is a private-permissioned industry-wide blockchain solution, launched in 2021 to support a wide range of operator business requirements and transform the wholesale roaming clearing and settlement process. It was formed following collaborative research between the GSMA and CK Hutchison Group Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, Verizon and Vodafone who were the founding members of the Blockchain for Wholesale Roaming (BWR) initiative, convened by the GSMA.

Blockchain technology securely automates the complex business processes for wholesale roaming, ensuring that the interoperation between MNOs is accurate, transparent, and verified in the shortest possible time. Omantel and Telkomsel anticipate multiple benefits from using blockchain, including operational efficiency through decreased manual intervention, greater accuracy in charging, reduced billing disputes and rejections and quicker time to market for roaming products and offerings.

Talal Al Mamari, CEO, Omantel, said: “We want to lead the pack with the implementation of this revolutionary blockchain solution, which will not only automate our systems further, but also help us to optimise costs and become more efficient by reducing margins of error. In addition to the operational benefits that we expect to achieve, we foresee an improvement in customer-experience by way of fewer disputes in invoices and improved roaming services and products. It will also allow us to partner with more operators to exchange data over blockchain, thereby enabling future technology developments like 5G Standalone Roaming and the Billing and Charging Evolution. Such initiatives reflect our commitment of enriching the experience of our customers to complement our wide international roaming footprint over 200 countries with more than 700 partners.”

“As Indonesia’s leading digital telco, Telkomsel consistently reaches beyond in unlocking more potential for the country’s progress. During MWC23 in Barcelona, Telkomsel joined the GSMA eBusiness Network Accelerator program with the hope of opening opportunities for further implementation of blockchain network technology in Indonesia. By conducting a joint study and exploring blockchain technology, we can optimise our wholesale roaming clearing and settlement processes in the future. Being the first digital telco in Southeast Asia to join the initiative in 2023, Telkomsel will continue to evaluate the results of the blockchain technology trial and bring more inclusive and sustainable access to world-class connectivity in Indonesia,” said Wong Soon Nam, Chief Planning & Transformation Officer, Telkomsel.

“Blockchain technology is ideally suited to streamline the wholesale roaming clearing and settlement process. It does this by enabling the automation of business processes that are becoming increasingly complex as we enter an era of connectivity defined by 5G and IoT,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. “We are asking our members to join the trials so they can realise the benefits of the blockchain, along with their roaming partners, and lay the foundations for Web3, with fully automated contract management, settlement and payments.”

The roaming application services offered by the GSMA eBusiness Network ensure more transparent and secure roaming operations for MNOs. The applications are built on blockchain-based automated workflows, using smart contracts to create a single-source-of-truth in roaming contract management, data clearing and financial settlement.