Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Deutsche Telekom leads blockchain IoT roaming initiative

Steve Rogerson
February 18, 2020

Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile US, Telefonica, Orange and the GSMA are jointly testing production-ready blockchain technology so operators can easily generate and sign secure, inter-operator IoT roaming discount agreements.
Though initially designed by Deutsche Telekom Laboratories (T-Labs) and Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier, plans are underway to open-source the code so it can be freely used by the industry at large. It also reduces the complexity of the current process, which involves drafting, signing and manually implementing inter-operator roaming discount agreements.
This development provides a new layer of trust, as the agreed-upon terms cannot be subsequently changed or tampered with. In addition, it allows a holistic, analytic view of agreements, enabling further automation of the roaming wholesale workflow in the future, for example settlement processes between operators.
This is the first time operators can jointly test blockchain and incorporate a corresponding legal framework, governance model and integration into corporate IT infrastructures. Hyperledger Fabric has been implemented for this project, which is an open-source blockchain backed by the Linux Foundation.
“Our new solution is scalable,” said John Calian, senior vice president at Deutsche Telekom. “Therefore IoT devices and new emerging business requirements can be easily accommodated in the future. Disputes and financial losses will be minimised.”
Rolf Nafziger, senior vice president of Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier, added: “The inter-operator workflow in roaming has been basically unchanged for the last 20 years. In the near future, however, new services like NB-IoT, LTE-M or VoLTE and other quality-based services will drastically increase the complexity of inter-operator discount agreements and respective settlements. This blockchain-based solution is the start of automating sections of our workflow. It will put us in a position to handle the additional complexity while increasing overall efficiency.”
• Deutsche Telekom is partnering with mobile network operators and additional suppliers to expand its IoT Solution Optimizer ecosystem. In addition, the first customers are using this platform since its launch last year.
The platform is designed for companies that want to deploy reliable, battery-powered mobile IoT for vertical industries, from asset tracking and security to smart city services. Developers and service providers can model and optimise a virtual twin of their design before deploying the planned IoT services.
The service is a building block in the larger vision to simplify IoT by focusing on high customer convenience and quicker time-to-market for applications.
Based in Germany, Axxessio and Orbit IT are among the first IoT consultancy companies helping enterprises build more profitable IoT services with the platform. One Solutions Engineering, one of Magenta Telekom’s customers in Austria, uses the service to assess product reliability and reduce R&D costs.