Today blockchain startup Clear and established telecoms tech provider Tomia announced a partnership. Together they will provide a joint roaming management, reconciliation and settlement platform. There’s some client overlap between the firms, which perhaps has spurred this collaboration.
At the start of the year, Clear announced a $13 million Series A investment, backed by subsidiaries of Telefónica and Deutsche Telekom as well as HKT and Singtel. It also ran multiple trials with Telefónica, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone.
Meanwhile, TOMIA was created last year from the merger of Starhome Mach and Telari and boasts clients such as AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, 02, Orange, SoftBank, Sprint, Telefonica and Vodafone.
Stepping back to look at the problem they’re trying to solve, consider what happens when you make a call that involves roaming. Telecoms firms record minutes spent by a customer on a roaming network and need to reconcile the data with roaming partners and then send or receive payments. Blockchain can potentially streamline this process, and smart contracts can expedite and automate the settlement between carriers.
But that’s just carrier roaming. Apart from operators, the telecoms supply chain includes the cloud, app developers, on-line stores, banks and others. And 5G will add to that further.
TOMIA has existing roaming deal management and settlement applications that it’s making interoperable with the various blockchain solutions being developed by numerous parties. To date, the lack of interoperability has hampered the reconciliation and settlement process.
“Our partnership gives expression to our commitment to working side by side and sharing expertise and insights in order to cultivate new solutions that will automate the entire wholesale roaming settlement process, right the way through, from agreement management to settlement stage,” said Eran Haggiag, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Clear.
This was one of the first use cases explored by CBAN, the Communications Business Automation Network. One of CBAN’s aims is to ensure that distributed ledger technology (DLT) solutions are interoperable.
“Automated settlement solutions that drive partner collaboration and dispute automation processes are something the telecommunications industry has wanted for some time,” said Marco Limena, CEO of TOMIA. He spoke about the cost reductions and efficiencies. “System upgrades like these are increasingly important at a time when the industry is undergoing significant change, and telecoms providers seek to drive connectivity through new innovative technologies like 5G.”