China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom are banding together to create the Trusted Blockchain Telecom Application Group. State-owned China Mobile’s Research Institute led the initial meeting and is co-chair. Hardware company Huawei will serve as deputy leader of the project.
Other participants include ZTE Corp, payment services provider Union Mobile Financial Technology, and blockchain start-ups ChainNova and Qulian Technology according to the South China Morning Post.
The group comes under the umbrella of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).
According to Chines telecoms site C114, the solutions planned are Blockchain as a Service, IoT logistics traceability, inter-operator clearing, and business operation support amongst others.
China Mobile’s US restrictions
A few weeks ago the US Department of Commerce recommended that the Federal Communications Commission deny a license to China Mobile. The State owns the company which has the largest number of subscribers in the world. “After significant engagement with China Mobile, concerns about increased risks to U.S. law enforcement and national security interests were unable to be resolved,” said a statement.
The Washington Post recently noted that travelers visiting the US from China encounter many blocked websites. Hence they can’t access Facebook, the New York Times or even Google Maps. This is similar to the what happens in China with the so-called ‘Great Firewall’.
This follows the recent seven-year ban imposed by the US Department of Commerce on ZTE. The ban was lifted earlier this month after the company agreed to further fines and replaced its entire senior management.
Other telecoms initiatives
There are two major international telecoms consortia. Colt, PCCW Global, BT, HGC Global, Telefonica, and Telstra are working together on inter-carrier settlement. In other words how carriers charge each other for roaming.
Separately, there’s a SoftBank initiated Carrier Blockchain Study Group (CBSG). That group includes Sprint, LG Uplus, KT (formerly Korean Telecom), Telstra and several others. Their goals are a little broader.
Yesterday South Korean KT announced it’s own blockchain initiative. The company isn’t using existing technology. Instead, it created its own blockchain protocol. It’s targeting user authentication and roaming and is testing it with China Mobile and NTT DoCoMo.