How to fast-track the benefits of blockchain technology and streamline roaming processes sooner

GSMA’s Product Director for Blockchain and Roaming, Shamit Bhat, explains how operators can accelerate the benefits of blockchain technology to streamline wholesale roaming processes and speed up settlements, sooner rather than later.

As seen in our previous blogs, blockchain is becoming more and more of an invaluable technology for operators. Evolving wholesale roaming processes, streamlining roaming contract agreements for the 5G and IoT era, speeding up inter-operator settlement, as well as helping to unlock new monetisation opportunities for telco businesses.

To support operators as they grapple with this new technology and its application in the wholesale roaming business, GSMA has developed the eBusiness Network Accelerator programme, which as its name suggests, can realise the benefits for your business a lot faster. In this blog, Shamit Bhat explains what the programme is, how it works and why you should join it.

Why is an accelerator programme needed?

To evolve roaming services to the new world of blockchain technology and all the benefits this brings, such as streamlining the end-to-end processes of wholesale roaming and clearing, the underlying data interchange technology must be upgraded. This will take time, which is why the Accelerator programme is here, to provide operators with a bridge to help transition seamlessly from the current to the future world and start that journey now.

The Accelerator programme is part of the GSMA eBusiness Network suite of services, the aim behind which is to build a ubiquitous inter-connected global network of operators, vendors, and partners to streamline existing inter-operator processes and unlock new monetisation opportunities.

What’s the Accelerator programme about?

The Accelerator programme offers operators 3 months’ complimentary access to the GSMA eBusiness Network services for roaming, so they can conduct operational trials of the system and gain mentoring and training resources for all the services.

These include, GSMA Node, providing easy access to the network, GSMA Negotiator, an online negotiation environment for roaming managers to forecast, analyse, negotiate and digitally sign roaming agreements. As well as GSMA Settlement, an automated settlement environment designed to reduce disputes and expedite the wholesale roaming billing and charging process.

How is the Accelerator programme structured?

The programme has 4 key phases:
  • Engagement: we get the ball rolling and set the tempo for rest of the engagement. Operators and the GSMA work together to understand the value proposition, technology, product offering and overall blockchain opportunity.
  • Onboarding: the operator is formally onboarded into the larger team, kicking off the technical and operational onboarding. An important component of this phase is to jointly set the engagement KPIs and agree on a detailed project plan with the GSMA team, triggering the formal project tracking and tracing towards a Go Live date.
  • Go Live: this starts with the 3-month complimentary window for an operational trial of the system. As part of the final onboarding step, the participants are given training and all other eBusiness Network participants are informed about the new joiners. This also triggers the diligent day-to-day recording of the performance of the system against the pre-agreed KPIs.
  • Evaluation: once the 3-month complimentary window concludes, the GSMA works with each trial participant to evaluate the KPIs in an objective process, followed by producing a final Accelerator report. In addition to this, the GSMA provides business case support for the operator to move towards an operational rollout.

What support does the GSMA provide?

The GSMA end-to-end support includes project management, technical, commercial and operational guidance, as well as training. The GSMA provides means to move towards an operational run beyond this stage, however, there are no obligations to proceed after the trial period.

What is the status of the programme?

The programme is live now and ready to host more participants. Operators are welcome to work with current network participants or involve preferred roaming partners. To get started, please contact the GSMA Engagement Lead, Vinny Robertson, at [email protected].