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Telecom companies PCCW Global and Colt trial blockchain for faster payment settlements

Telecom service providers PCCW Global and Colt have successfully trialed blockchain technology for faster payment settlements.

The companies conducted a proof-of-concept (PoC) with the objective of assessing whether blockchain technology could be applied to make inter-carrier settlements more efficient, reliable, and scalable. They collaborated with blockchain startup Clear for the PoC.

“Everyone is talking about blockchain but the use cases in the telecom industry have been fairly limited until now. Whilst this deployment is currently only at the PoC stage, through our collaboration with Colt and Clear we are eager to demonstrate how the many potential uses of blockchain across our industry can deliver exponential value by improving the ways in which we interoperate,” Marc Halbfinger, Chief Executive Officer of PCCW Global, said.

According to the official release, the PoC was specifically focused on the settlement area of wholesale voice minutes. All parties involved implemented a bilateral private blockchain to record transactions, which were then reported to a public blockchain. Smart contracts were then used to rate call detail records, resolve disputes and record the settlement transactions.

“During two separate demonstrations…the PoC showcased the use of blockchain to positively settle payments for inter-carrier voice traffic. It reduced what can take several weeks, and sometimes months, of intense manual labour down to less than a minute,” the release stated.

The companies noted that existing blockchain technologies lack solutions for scalability, contract privacy and enterprise grade business logic. However, through the use of proprietary technologies such as multi-layer blockchain architecture, advanced cryptography and scalability enhancements to existing blockchain implementations, the PoC demonstrated the viability of a blockchain-based wholesale trading system, they said.

“This PoC could also see the beginning of a cryptocurrency model where, rather than exchanging cash to settle transactions, carriers could move to a token-based credit environment. If successful, such a model could be rolled out beyond the carrier community to other technology service providers,” concluded Grivner.

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