The blockchain industry has been on the radar for many big corporations, which has taken the technology from the realm of skepticism to development of real world applications. In its latest announcement KPMG, the multinational accounting firm, is partnering with software firms TOMIA, Microsoft, and R3 to develop a blockchain for telecom settlements.
KPMG has had some forays in the industry, but this is probably the biggest move. Until now, it acquired a few pilot blockchain solutions related to its industry, aimed at addressing complex cross-border, or cross-network tasks. The recent partnership with Microsoft and K3 will allow the company to tackle data-related issues expected to arise after the launch of 5G networks.
The company states that international mobile data roaming revenues are expected to reach $31 billion in 2022, with an average annual growth rate of eight percent.
It’s that accelerating use of international data that Arun Ghosh, Blockchain Leader at KPMG, addressed in a blog post:
While we will be able to consume more data more quickly and across more locations than ever before in this next wave of telecom advancement, it is becoming increasingly complex for telecom companies to track and settle interchange fees.
KPMG has been working closely with the telecom industry for a long time. The blockchain being piloted aims to reduce the costs, number of disputes, and time involved in telecom settlements caused by “billions of mobile interactions flow[ing] through hundreds of connected networks managed by dozens of customers and suppliers.”
Settlements and reconciliations are currently handled manually, and can take up to a month to complete, according to Ghosh. Most of the data is generated via mobile devices, which needs authentication from at least two parties – a process that has potential for efficiency improvements. He further added that three pillars of cellular settlements are the customers, amount of data generated, and the contract between the two. This makes a blockchain-based solution a good fit for achieving quick settlement times.
While Microsoft acts as the principal architect, R3’s Corda acts as the backbone of the operation, and TOMIA brings a layer of telecom expertise by representing around 40 global operators.
KPMG has previously advised telecom operators on capital-efficient deployment of 5G networks, cyber security, privacy, and data protection, and revenue recognition and lease accounting.