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Indian telco Airtel selects IBM for blockchain-based pan India anti-spam call solution: Report

Image Via The Economic Times

Fri, 24 May 2019, 05:11 am UTC

Bharti Airtel, an Indian telecom giant, has awarded a multi-million dollar contract to IBM to deploy a blockchain-based pan India anti-spam call solution, the Economic Times reported.

Last July, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) notified new regulations that aim to curb the menace of unsolicited commercial communication (UCC). By the end of 2018, IBM completed blockchain pilots with TRAI and Indian telecom providers that aimed to explore the technology’s potential solve the issues of coordination among multiple parties with respect to Do Not Call (DNC) registries and mobile number portability (MNP).

With the new blockchain solution, Airtel and IBM expect to meet TRAI’s new regulation, which is slated to go into effect before the end of this month.

Sources familiar with the matter told the news outlet that Airtel’s latest move is targeted at protecting its 284 million subscribers from pesky calls and messages. The commercial deployment of the blockchain-based network is already underway.

“Airtel’s consumer will have complete control over what messages they would want to get or block at… the scope of mischief will be considerably reduced, thereby curbing fake transactions and fraud,” a source said.“It’s a reasonably significant sized contract.”

In addition to curbing pesky calls and messages, the blockchain network will also help Airtel in Mobile Number Portability, interconnect settlements, supply chain streamlining and content partner settlements, a second source said.

“Going forward, the platform will allow multiple use cases across business and compliance domains that can do the job either more cost effectively or via delivering better customer experience or via creating sources of revenues or a combination of all of those. So, all vital business parameters get impacted,” he added.

Vishal Awal, vice president – telecom (global business services), IBM India/South Asia said TRAI’s UCC regulations led to the collaboration between the tech company and the telco partner to develop, deploy and scale a "Blockchain / Shared Ledger Technology (SLT)" based pan-India business network.

“This network will shape up to be the world’s first ‘Multi Cloud Telecom Blockchain Network’ – a significant landmark that clearly highlights the modularity and architectural flexibility of the blockchain fabric,” he said, without revealing the name of its telco partner.

Last year, another Indian IT firm Tech Mahindra teamed up with Microsoft to build a DLT-based solution to address the problem of spam calls. Earlier this year, reports suggested that Tech Mahindra was preparing to roll out the solution.

“While other players have the intent to be in the space, currently IBM has the commercial pan-India contract in hand. It is part of the platform play which sets the fabric on which we can keep building more use cases,” a source said.

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