SoftBank Corp. and Sprint announced today that they have created a new consortium they hope will encourage telecom carriers to adopt blockchain technologies.
Dubbed the Carrier Blockchain Study Group, or CBSG, the group initially consisted of those two giants, plus TBCASoft, a startup that is developing blockchain services for the telecom industry. As a starting point, the three partners have been testing a “cross-carrier payment platform system” that harnesses TBCASoft’s blockchain tools.
More recently, Taiwanese telecom company Far EasTone joined the group, leading to the decision to create a consortium and invite other telecom players to join in the development and trials of blockchain services.
The consortium hopes to further examine how blockchain can create a more fluid system of payments between various players in the telecom ecosystem, in terms of carriers paying each other, authenticating users and customers, and using crypto currencies to reload pre-paid plans.
In their payment trials, the group successfully used blockchain to let users add money to their mobile accounts across various geographies and carriers. TBCASoft allows the blockchain system to integrate into the carriers’ current payment systems.
But for blockchain to become truly useful, it will need to gain far greater adoption across carriers.
“CBSG is leading the telecommunication industry’s understanding and development of blockchain technology,” said Doug Garland, Sprint’s vice president of innovation and partnerships, in a statement. “The disruptive potential of blockchain on a global scale will be fully realized when carriers work together and leverage the new platform and ecosystem.”