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LG Uplus to offer overseas blockchain mobile payments

mobile telecom tower

South Korean mobile company LG Uplus announced plans to enable mobile payments when customers travel to Taiwan and Japan. According to the announcement, subscribers will be able to pay for items at selected retailers using their phone in these two countries. Likewise, Taiwanese subscribers of the Far EastTone service can do the same when visiting Korea and Japan. The payments use the blockchain-based Cross Carrier Payment System (CCPS) announced by SoftBank and partners last week.

Last Thursday LG Uplus signed a memorandum of understanding with Far EasTone and SoftBank, with TBCASoft providing the blockchain platform. LG Uplus is South Korea’s third-largest mobile operator.

The CCPS system means customers can avoid overseas credit card transactions fees and reduce foreign exchange risks. Payments will go through their mobile account. And for the telecom companies, because the blockchain is a single shared ledger, there are no reconciliation issues between the companies. These cross-border payments probably wouldn’t be viable without blockchain.

“Customers will have the benefit of an overseas payment system based on convenient, economical and secure blockchain technology,” said Youngjoon Joo, Mobile Service Unit Director of LG Uplus. “And in addition to the overseas payment solution, LG Uplus will continue to develop new business opportunities with CBSG blockchain and global telecom leaders.”

“The number of mobile users accessing the internet is high. However, usage of mobile payments is relatively low. Research reveals that consumers, businesses and the economy can benefit a great deal from shifting to mobile payments,” said Daichi Nozaki, SoftBank VP and Co-Chairman of the CBSG Consortium.

He continued: “Consumers can save time and boost productivity, while businesses can reduce costs and increase sales. Progress has been hampered by a lack of mobile payment infrastructure, services and security concerns.”

Telecoms initiatives

The CCPS is a product of the Carrier Blockchain Study Group (CBSG) founded by TBCASoft, SoftBank, Sprint and Far EasTone. In February they announced the addition of LG Uplus, Telefonica, UAE-based Etisalat Group, and South Korean KT Corporation. In July they announced another group of mainly Middle Eastern an Asian telecoms companies joined.

There are several groups exploring blockchain. A month ago CBCCom, PCCW Global, Sparkle and Tata Communications announced a blockchain Proof of Concept (PoC). They’re working with technology companies Clear and Cataworx.

Clear is also working on another PoC with BT, HGC, Telefonica, and Telstra. State-owned China Mobile announced its involvement in a Chinese initiative. And Sprint is involved in a connected car project that includes blockchain.