International consulting company KPMG, IT giant Microsoft, blockchain consortium R3 and software developer TOMIA entered into a partnership agreement to jointly create blockchain solutions for billing in the telecommunications sector.

According to KPMG, by 2022, revenues from international mobile data roaming will reach $31 billion, with the average annual growth rate standing at 8%. It means that the amount of data transmitted in roaming will increase drastically, and telcos will have to process and check more payment orders.

“While we will be able to consume more data more quickly and across more locations than ever before in this next wave of telecom advancement, it is becoming increasingly complex for telecom companies to track and settle interchange fees,” wrote Arun Ghosh, head of the blockchain division in KPMG.

The pilot blockchain project being developed by Microsoft, R3 and TOMIA is focused on reducing costs, number of disputes and time that is currently spent on billing procedures. According to Ghosh, there are now “billions of mobile interactions flow[ing] through hundreds of connected networks managed by dozens of customers and suppliers.”

Currently, mobile data transfer payments are extremely inefficient. Calculations and reconciliations are processed manually, and this can take up to a month, Ghosh wrote.

“The three pillars of settlements – the subscribers, their contracts, and amount of data generated – can all be integrated on a private, permissioned ledger to be seen and verified by the telecom operators,” he said. In fact, KPMG will be able to automatically reconcile most of this information using smart contracts.

Currently, a huge amount of data is generated in the mobile industry, including the metadata of where a call originates and terminates, the conditions of a user’s contract, and billing information, that must be authenticated by at least two parties if cross-service operations occur.

Microsoft acts as the main architect, R3's Corda is responsible for operational processes, and TOMIA shares knowledge in the field of telecommunications, representing more than 40 global operators.