Vodafone Idea, BSNL, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio to Deploy Blockchain to Tackle Pesky Calls and SMS

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To tackle the problem of pesky calls and spam messages, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio Infocomm will be rolling out a blockchain based technology, reported ET Telecom. This new technology would help millions of consumers in tackling pesky calls and messages, which often become a reason of nuisance for the subscribers. Analysts are also of the opinion that this would be the biggest use case of blockchain until now in the teelcom space. While Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio would implement these through partnerships with Tanla Solutions and Tech Mahindra, Bharti Airtel already has a similar deployment under way in a partnership with IBM.

Trai Mandate Urging Telcos to Use Blockchain Comes into Play

This new move is being undertaken in line with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s regulations which are expected to come into play by the end of this month. These regulations are also expected to affect approximately a billion mobile subscribers, and they would help the subscribers from unsolicited commercial communication, or spam calls and messages.

It is also worth noting that the massive blockchain deployment from the telcos will allow the users to manage and set their communication preferences and consents. To make this happen, Vodafone Idea has forged a multi-year contract with Tanla Solutions to deploy the technology, along with a regulatory sandbox and production platform. A Tanla spokesperson also said that the deployment is currently underway and added that the company is also a vendor to Bharti Airtel and is helping it in implementation of the network, however, IBM remains the bigger vendor of the two.

Vodafone Idea said that it is supporting the initiative by Trai and is working to deploy “new-age technologies to deliver simple (and) delightful experiences with meaningful innovations.” On the other hand, rival telco Reliance Jio is taking help of Tech Mahindra to deploy the technology. A person aware of the matter said that although the technology was jointly developed, Tech Mahindra would manage it for the telecom company.

Blockchain Market to Grow by $7 Billion in Near Future

It is worth noting that blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that came into mainstream and was popularised by the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. The blockchain is a distributed ledger for storing data, including financial transactions in a decentralised manner. As per IBM’s estimates, the global market for blockchain is about $500 million and it is expected to grow to $7 billion in three to four years.

The director of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Rajan Matthews also said that all telecom operators would have to participate together to deploy the distributed ledger technology. He also added that all the telcos would have to come together and follow the same set of standard procedures that have been set, and that would also include the state-run telecom operator, BSNL. Matthews has also said that the deployment is underway and the stakeholders and vendors are working with Trai.

Last year, Trai had directed the telcos to deploy blockchain to fight off pesky calls and messages, it had also fixed penalties of between Rs 1,000 and Rs 50 lakh per violation in a month on the telcos who failed to abide by the new norms regarding countering these messages and calls.

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Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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