At last week’s Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Turkcell, Turkey’s largest mobile network introduced its blockchain service for identity (ID) management.
Turkcell’s ID management solution aims to define access rights for either customers or employees. The company says it’s using blockchain technology to enable safer and faster transactions. Additionally, the telecoms company has developed blockchain applications for roaming clearance and donations. It‘s using the blockchain network it shares with Ukrainian Lifecell and Belarusian BeST, both companies owned by Turkcell.
Previously for ID management users had to create multiple accounts on different platforms or they had to share their personal data with a third party. Hence Turkcell created the solution to store the information required for the verification process on a blockchain. It gives users more control over their personal data, and the solution complies with the EU GDPR data privacy regulation.
In addition, the ID management solution has been used for Turkcell ’s blockchain donation system. The aim is to make donations more trustworthy and secure, particularly by verifying the recipient’s identity. So a user donates on Bip, Lifecell’s messaging platform similar to WeChat and WhatsApp, and payment is via Paycell.
Turkcell’s objective when implementing blockchain is to improve customer experience. “Customers nowadays demand transparency and trust,” said Sertan Ozturk, EVP Customer Experience and IT. “Using blockchain is essential to improve customer experience”. The company cited this as a critical reason for joining the Carrier Blockchain Study Group (CBSG) last year. The consortium is comprised of at least 14 significant telecoms companies and aims to stimulate the development of blockchain solutions in the telecommunications industry.
Just last week, two members of the CBSG consortium, SoftBank and TBCASoft announced the launch of the “Identification & Authentication” Working Group which may overlap with Turkcell’s work.
Turkcell claims to be the world’s fastest growing digital operator. It’s 2017 turnover showed an increase of 23.4% year on year at TRY 17.6 billion ($3.34 billion). The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but 51% of the shares are owned by Turkcell Holding which is controlled by TeliaSonera Finland, Cukurova and Alfa Telecom. The shareholding in Turkcell was the subject of litigation between Cukurova (controlled by Turkcell’s founder) and Russian-owned Alfa Group. Turkcell operates in 9 countries Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Northern Cyprus, Germany, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Moldova.