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Major telecoms blockchain consortium unveiled

telecoms antenna

On the 24th June, the ITW Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF) released details of its blockchain platform for settlements in the telecoms industry. The Communications Blockchain Network (CBN) [update: now called CBAN] is slated for launch later this year and includes an impressive list of collaborators. A key aim is to enable industry interoperability.

The CBN plans to streamline the settlement process between telecoms carriers with automated billing applications. As customers’ roam’ and use another provider’s network, carriers bill each other. An industry-wide effort, the GLF hopes that this platform will drive adoption of new technologies, such as smart contracts, and enable interoperability.

Well known mobile carriers including A1 Telekom Austria, China Telecom, Colt, Deutsche Telekom, IDT, Orange, PCCW, Tata, Telefonica, Telstra, and TNZI have invested in the development of the CBN.

The telecoms firms are joined by tech companies Amartus, Clear Blockchain Technologies, ConsenSys, Difitek, Internet Mobile Communications, Orbs, Subex, Syniverse, and Tomia, with more to be announced. Perhaps the biggest names now involved in the project are IBM, R3, and CSG. The CBN issued an open invitation to other service providers to join.

CSG’s Director of Project Management, Finn Kornbo, stated yesterday that “CSG is excited to partner with the ITW GLF to create a unified blockchain ecosystem.”

“The adoption of blockchain technology helps carriers reduce costs, while enhancing revenue growth by supporting the launch of new and innovated services brought about by 5G, IoT and other industry advancements.”

Chair of the GLF and CEO of supporting carrier PCCW Global, Marc Halbfinger, explained: “When we set out along this journey, it was our goal to launch a platform that would enable multi-dimensional automation for the betterment of the industry.”

“Now we are embarking on the next stage of this process by creating a truly open platform that will facilitate settlement among every ICT Service Provider, including carriers and cloud providers for all forms of ICT traffic,” he continued.

The telecoms industry is rife with competing blockchain projects. Of the many rival telecoms consortiums, the leading Carrier Blockchain Study Group has a head start and earlier this year extended its work to blockchain identity.

Just this week, Tomia announced its own settlements platform with Sprint, Deutsche Telekom, and AT&T using R3’s Corda. Meanwhile, supporters of the CBN IBM, Orange, and Syniverse are already worked together on yet another blockchain settlements solution.

But one of CBN’s objectives is to enable interoperability between platforms. Hence it has an industry-wide governance framework and plans to facilitate open source standards and APIs. It also explains the diverse range of technology partners including ConsenSys (Ethereum), IBM (Hyperledger Fabric), R3 (Corda) and the lesser-known Orbs public blockchain.