By continuing to use this site, you agree to its use of cookies. Find out more about cookies here. Accept Cookies
Search Tips: A2P SMS SDN
What are you looking for?

Blockchain: How it matters to the wholesale telecoms market

The biggest questions about blockchain for the telecoms market are: “Where is the bang for the buck?” and “Where and how do we get started?”. If only we had the blockchain Rosetta Stone for telcos.

This article is contributed by Jacqueline Teo, Chief Digital Officer, and Ravindran Mahalingam, Senior Vice President – International Business, at HGC.


"In a digital world, a differentiated customer experience is a key competitive advantage. We therefore need to take serious notice of how our own customers will embrace blockchain in their own industries."

Jacqueline Teo
Chief Digital Officer of HGC

JACQUELINE TEO, Chief Digital Officer

Essentially, the core attributes of blockchain’s shared ledger - trust, provenance, immutability and anonymity - can benefit any telco transaction involving multiple parties sharing data, updating data or using intermediaries. This includes many core BSS/OSS functions like trading, settlements, billing, provisioning and fraud management. Telcos can also create blockchain-enabled digital services such as identity management services, digital rights management and secure content management.However, the value to the wholesale telecoms market is more than the uplift to our internal processes. In a digital world, a differentiated customer experience is a key competitive advantage. We therefore need to take serious notice of how our own customers will embrace blockchain in their own industries. Some widely-touted examples include: 1.Content/media industry: Content creators can register origin of work, collaborate and set sharing permissions; pre- and post-production can be done across geographies.

2.Energy industry: Decentralised consortiums for peer-to-peer energy trading, supply of multiple energy sources through microgrids.

3.Government: Voting management, including record and identity management, government tenders and agency-to-agency secure communication.

4.Pharmaceutical or Health: R&D, integrity of clinical trials data, access to health (e.g. genetic) data secured on a blockchain.

5.Cross-industry collaboration: Block-to-block transactions or block to external platform integration (e.g. Predix.).Such blockchain applications by nature require non-trivial connected computing infrastructure and an underlying resilient and highly available network. Operators will need more sophisticated software-defined capabilities to meet changing capacity demands. This will be supported by real-time service assurance, perhaps using augmented reality. And performance management, not only at a traffic and packet level, but also at a data level.

What will be key for wholesale operators is:

1.Partnering for route diversity and capacity sharing at micro levels: This refers to a distributed hyper ledger at a telco-to-telco scale.

2.Decentralised network management: Service orchestration, service management, network management and service inventory as blockchains themselves. This can be either through telco blockchain consortiums and/or telco blockchain-to-blockchain, which creates a virtual global managed network.

3.Data security, data regulation and data breach prevention: We need to be finding better ways of securing our networks end-to-end, including finding the balance between providing AI solutions with the data they need. This would involve securing our APIs, using AI in APIs and/or progressing to conversational APIs, providing network-to-network tokens using quantum computing, enabling zero-knowledge proofs, and other such new principles of data security, data regulation and data breach prevention.

"Blockchain as a technology offers a solution to some of the industry’s major challenges, such as business efficiency, productivity and scalability."

Ravindran Mahalingam
Senior Vice President, International Business

RAVINDRAN MAHALINGAM, Senior Vice President, International Business of HGC

Like the internet, blockchain technology is strongest when everyone is using the same network, so in the future we might all just be talking about 'the' blockchain.

One has to wonder why it has taken 30 years from its creation for blockchain to have finally found interest among the telecoms sector to begin with. What is the motivation today that was not there before? Or was it due to the craze of cryptocurrency and its use of blockchain that finally brought the concept of smart ledger and its features to the mainstream? Whatever the reasons, one fact of the telecoms industry which is true is the disruption and acceleration of overall margin erosion in the retail sector as a result of greater competition and technology disruption. This disruption has also impacted the wholesale sector that feeds into the retail propositions.

As we all agree, the wholesale industry in internationals telecoms is the underlying engine that many take for granted. Connecting to the operators globally, both fixed and mobile, for the smooth interconnection and exchange of services, it enables all the services that we use - voice and SMS on our phones, internet and WAN on the desktop. Hundreds of operators are transacting wholesale services in the billions every minute that keep the global retail telecoms sector working.

Blockchain as a technology offers a solution to some of the industry’s major challenges, such as business efficiency, productivity and scalability. Security is a by-product of blockchain, which is a welcome addition to the IP layer. While it can be argued that all of the above can be achieved through business transformation and the adoption of new IT platforms, the fact remains that IT cannot solve the day-to-day management of contracts, agreements and the speed of clearing the agreed terms. Blockchain seems to offer the opportunity to automate the process from the contract down to the downstream IT platform that does the actual process - in other words the whole chain of agreement right to the final settlement can be automated. When coupled with existing IT platforms, this allows even greater speed and cost management to the wholesale operator. The possible applications are in international wholesale voice, messaging, data and, mobile industry roaming. There are few independent lead projects underway which may reshape the industry.

Perhaps the blockchain may be a precursor for the return of SDR currency as the mode of exchange, only to be replaced by the hot new technology buzz of cryptocurrency.

This article was first published by Capacity Media.


HGC Global Communications Limited may, directly or through its affiliated companies, agents and/or business partners1, use my personal data2(“Personal Data”) for direct marketing of the services and/or products as set out below.

Please select the box(es) below to indicate you do not consent to any of the items and HGC Global Communications Limited shall not use the Personal Data for direct marketing


  1. Business partners include those entities of designated industries having a contractual relationship with HGC Global Communications Limited (please refer to3for details of designated industries).
  2. Personal Data includes any or all of the following : name, gender, telephone number, fax number, postal address, e-mail address, month and year of birth, and the information on usage of telecommunications and related telecommunications value-added services and relevant HGC Global Communications Limited’s account and service number.
  3. Designated industries include telecommunications and related telecommunications value-added services and/or products, concierge services, flowers and hampers, wedding planning services, personal care and beauty, fashion and apparel, supermarket and department stores, household, catering/ food and beverages, hotels and travelling, entertainment and leisure, high-end consumer products, electrical and electronic products, e-commerce and payment platforms, media, insurance, banking and finance, education, stationery and office equipment, real estate and property management, logistics and transportation, social network services, recruitment, charitable and non-profit making organizations.

If at any time in the future you do not wish HGC Global Communications Limited, its affiliated companies, agents and/or business partners in providing you with any information for direct marketing of the aforesaid products and services relating to HGC Global Communications Limited, its affiliated companies and business partners, please contact us via email, or by mail to PO Box 33, Tsuen Wan Post Office, Hong Kong or call HGC Global Communications Limited’s Customer Services Hotline 1220 (Voice/IDD Service) / 1222 (Internet Service). If you inform us via email or by post, our customer service representative will contact you for verification purpose.

We recommend you to read and share the following insight
How HGC is Taking its Digital & International Carrier Expertise to Asia’s Emerging Markets
We position ourselves as the carrier's carrier solution provider, and Corporate ICT solution provider.
HGC launches International Marketplace powered by SDN
A cloud-based, data-driven marketplace for dynamic network provisioning, digital solutions integration, automated service orchestration to redefine customer experience.