India’s Third Largest Telecom Firm Partners with IBM to Block Pesky Calls, Messages

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Smartphone users in India can soon say goodbye for good to unsolicited pesky calls and messages as one of the country’s largest telecom companies, Bharti Airtel in partnership with IBM plans to deploy a blockchain-powered pan-India network. This according to a report by Economic Times Telecom, May 23, 2019.

Adios, Pesky Calls

The problem of unsolicited commercial communication in India is a major one among smartphone users. The country’s telecommunications regulator, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued an order in July 2018 which required the country’s telecom service providers to clamp down on pesky calls and messages before the end of May 2019.

Sources in the know told Economic Times Telecom that India’s third largest telecom service provider Bharti Airtel has awarded a multi-million dollar contract to U.S.-based technology giant IBM to implement a distributed ledger technology-based (DLT) pan-India network that will safeguard its 284 million customers from unwanted calls and texts.

A person familiar with the matter described the deal as a “reasonably significant sized contract.”

He said:

Airtel’s consumer will have complete control over what messages they would want to get or block it… the scope of mischief will be considerably reduced, thereby curbing fake transactions and fraud.

Adding:

Going forward, the platform will allow multiple use cases across the 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.

Sources added that other than putting a stop to annoying calls and messages, the DLT solution will also help Bharti Airtel in mobile number portability, interconnect settlements, supply chain streamlining and content partner settlements.

Blockchain and Telecom

Other than fields like finance, supply chain management, real estate, and others, blockchain technology has found multiple use-cases in the telecom industry.

BTCManager reported on February 28, 2019, that an Indian IT solutions and services company Tanla Solutions had developed its own blockchain-powered commercial communication solution to help users avoid spam calls and messages.

In June 2018, TRAI developed a broad draft of regulations to restrict unsolicited communication through mobile phones. At the time, the regulator highlighted the versatility of blockchain technology and how it could be used to limit the growing menace of fake calls and messages.

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