TBCASoft, IBM (NYSE: IBM) and SoftBank Corp. (TSE:9434) today announced that they are entering into a strategic collaboration to support the transformation of the telecommunications industry that is intended to use cross-carrier blockchain technology designed to enable new synergies throughout the industry, provide new services to telecom carriers and their subscribers, and foster innovative business models.
Based on the planned agreement, TBCASoft will bring technology and solutions, IBM will bring its blockchain technology, experience in integrating and scaling blockchain networks, and software solutions, and SoftBank will bring its telecommunications expertise to the collaboration. Together, the companies will aim to enable carriers to leverage blockchain technology through the Carrier Blockchain Study Group (CBSG) Consortium, a global carrier blockchain consortium co-founded by TBCASoft and SoftBank.
The three companies share a common vision and believe that carriers are well-positioned to harness the benefits of blockchain technology. TBCASoft has created a cross-carrier blockchain network that already includes 18 participants. This network is designed to support several industry-specific use cases including cross-border payments, digital identity, and telecom supply chain, leading to substantial opportunities for industry members.
The first application to be launched by the CBSG Consortium is the Cross-Carrier Payment System (CCPS), which will be designed to allow traveling mobile subscribers to use their mobile payment app with local merchants while abroad. TBCASoft blockchain technology aims to help optimize transaction records and clearing between different telecom carriers, also referred to as over-the-top (OTT) payment solutions. CCPS provides interoperability across different OTT payment networks, making established networks of merchants instantly available to telecom carrier subscribers.
IBM has worked closely with TBCASoft to define the consortium strategy, and, through this new strategic collaboration, will also support the scaling of the ecosystem, leveraging the experience gained through working with 80% of the world’s telecommunication carriers. To provide telecom carriers added flexibility, TBCASoft plans to use the IBM Blockchain Platform in its blockchain stack to offer open technology that can be used in multiple cloud environments.
SoftBank is one of the founders of the CBSG Consortium and the first adopter of CCPS. The Japanese telecom leader is providing industry expertise, strategic support and technical services to make the launch of CCPS possible. SoftBank aims to launch the payment system in Tokyo in 2020.
Ling Wu, Founder and CEO of TBCASoft, said, “As the global pioneer of cross-carrier blockchain solutions, we have been working closely with leading telecommunication carriers in the past 3 years under the CBSG Consortium to drive adoption of the CCPS platform. As the technology provider of CCPS, we are extremely excited to see the strong momentum of the platform and how it is positioned as an important pillar of the telecommunication transformation strategy. We believe that this collaboration will bring greater combined values to our customers, partners, and the telecommunication industry.”
Utpal Mangla, Vice President & Partner for Blockchain, IBM Telecommunications Services said, “As telecommunication networks evolve and we move into the 5G era, carriers will help transform into digital service providers and provide consistent customer experiences across multiple platforms. Leveraging a telecommunications blockchain network that can enable improved cross-carrier relations, cross carrier payment can help transform the way telecom carriers transact with partners and customers to deliver innovative payment solutions.”
Daichi Nozaki, VP & Head of SoftBank Corp. Global Business Division, said, “We are proud to contribute to this project, which utilizes our expertise as the first adopter of the CCPS platform. We look forward to working on this ecosystem transformation initiated by the telecommunications industry, with carriers around the world united as one through blockchain technology.”
Terms and details of the definitive agreement will be finalized in the coming months.
TBCASoft is a U.S.-based company developing innovative blockchain technology specifically for telecommunication carriers. Its consortium-based blockchain platform enables telecommunication carriers to create innovative services for their subscribers under a more secure, robust, and efficient environment. TBCASoft is located in Sunnyvale, California, the center of Silicon Valley. To learn more, please visit TBCASoft at www.tbcasoft.com.
For more information about IBM, visit: www.ibm.com
About SoftBank Corp.
Guided by the SoftBank Group’s corporate philosophy, “Information Revolution – Happiness for everyone,” SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) combines telecommunications services with cutting-edge technologies to create and operate new businesses. SoftBank Corp. serves more than 44 million mobile consumer and enterprise subscribers in Japan, and as part of its “Beyond Carrier” strategy, is redefining industries by leveraging its unique strengths as a network operator to fully harness the power of 5G, big data, AI, IoT, robotics and other key technologies. To learn more, please visit www.softbank.jp/en/.