Blockchain can 'speed up' payment settlement between telcos

Colt and PCCW Global, the international division of Hong Kong Telecom (HKT), claim to have developed a Blockchain system that can dramatically reduce the time it takes to settle payments between telecoms operators.

Blockchain is the ‘tamper-proof’ decentralised ledger technology used to power the Bitcoin cryptocurrency and there has been plenty of interest from the wider industry to see how it can be used for other applications such as food safety and financial services.

“Everyone is talking about blockchain but the use cases in the telecom industry have been fairly limited until now,” said Mark Halbfinger, PCCW Global CEO. “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.”

Telecoms Blockchain

The two parties worked together with Blockchain startup Clear to see how the technology could be used in the telecoms sector and settled upon wholesale voice minutes because the majority of operators use similar processes.

Despite the large sums of money involved in these transactions, telecoms operators still rely on manual processes which are expensive, inefficient and complex

By using a bilateral private Blockchain to record transactions that were then reported to a public Blockchain, processes were reduced from hundreds of hours to a few minutes, complete with automated verification and settlement.

The Proof-of-concept (PoC) added proprietary technology such as multi-layer architecture, advanced cryptography and scalability enhancements to make Blockchain suitable and more secure for the industry.

“It is our goal to create a more agile, customer oriented organisation, and one way in which we are doing this is by exploring the benefits of disruptive technologies, such as blockchain,” added Carl Grivner, Colt CEO. “Collaborating with PCCW Global and Clear is ground breaking, as we have demonstrated how blockchain can transform the way we conduct business in the telecom industry.”


Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.