Asian Telecoms Join Global Consortium to Build Next-Gen Cross-Border Blockchain Ecosystem

A group of ASEAN and South Asian telecoms have joined a consortium of global telecommunication companies to explore ways to utilize blockchain technology.

A group of ASEAN and South Asian global telecommunications carriers have joined a global consortium to jointly explore how they can work together on building a next-generation cross-carrier blockchain platform and ecosystem.

The new members of the Carrier Blockchain Study Group (CBSG) are the Philippine Long Distance and Telephone Co. (PLDT) of the Philippines, Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata), PT. Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin) of Indonesia, Viettel Telecom Corporation (Viettel) of Vietnam, Zain Group (Zain) of Kuwait and Turkcell of Turkey.

PLDT head of International and Carrier Business and PLDT Global Corp. president Katrina Luna-Abelarde commented:

"The inter-carrier blockchain technology will definitely bring enormous benefits to PLDT’s overseas customers whom we have been serving for over 15 years. With the transformation of their lifestyles in the digital era, they require the streamlined solutions proposed by the CBSG Consortium, such as global remittance services, among others. We seek to empower our global customers with CBSG’s new platforms and solutions.”

The CBSG Consortium was launched in September last year by U.S.-based blockchain technology company TBCASoft, Inc. with the aim of collaborating with telecom carriers across the globe to develop an innovative platform specifically designed for the industry. Japan-based SoftBank Corp. (SoftBank), Taiwan-based Far EasTone Telecommunications Co., Ltd. (Far EasTone) and U.S.-based Sprint Corporation (Sprint) were the founding members of the consortium.

The group wants to provide the telecom industry and the consuming public a secured global digital payment system, personal identification, clearing and settlement, IoT applications and other services through the use of blockchain technology.

Axiata Group group chief strategy and marketing officer Dominic P. Arena added:

“As we transform into a New Generation Digital Champion, Blockchain has been identified as a digital platform opportunity which, by design, is extremely well suited to the global telecom operator ecosystem of trusted, connected and distributed parties. We look forward to working with our operator peers to develop the world’s most secure and fit-for-purpose Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) infrastructure, upon which we will build the next generation of digital services for our consumer and enterprise & government customers.”

Coinciding with the expansion of CBSG in the ASEAN and South Asian regions, the group said it would add another blockchain working committee to focus on global remittance services. The consortium believes that blockchain is ideally suited for these types of services because it would streamline the process to serve their customers efficiently.

Telecoms partnered with crypto

The move by telecoms to explore blockchain potentials follows an earlier partnership by several industry players with cryptocurrencies. In February, Perseus Telecom signed a deal with Brock Pierce's GoCoin to offer Bitcoin payments.

Japan-based DoCoMo was one of the first telecoms to foray into digital currency by funding Coinbase, while T-Mobile Poland has an agreement with InPay to accept Bitcoin for payment in prepaid packages.