The telecom industry is keen to understand how to leverage blockchain. One of the use cases that can benefit from blockchain is a global mobile wallet.
A mobile wallet is a payment service operated under financial regulation and performed from or via a mobile device. Instead of paying with cash, cheque, or credit cards, a consumer can use a mobile phone to pay for a wide range of services and digital or hard goods. Mobile payment is being adopted all over the world in different ways. Investment in mobile money services is expected to grow by 22.2% during the next two years across the globe. This will result in revenue share of mobile money reaching up to 9% by 2018. Asia and Africa will observe significant growth for mobile money with technological innovation and focus on interoperability emerging as prominent trends by 2018.
Global mobile wallet allows subscribers to make transactions even during travel, from any location at any time. It not only provides transaction facilities at affordable prices but also enables consumers to manage their accounts easily.
Key features of a global mobile wallet
- The mobile wallet provided by a telecom company in one country needs to continue to work in another country when the subscriber travels. In other words, a subscriber should use the same mobile wallet irrespective of where he travels.
- The mobile wallet should support multiple currencies, i.e. a wallet per currency populated with certain amount.
- The services that a subscriber avails via mobile wallet in one country should continue to be available in the visiting country.
- When a mobile wallet is shared by a family, each member should be able to transact with the appropriate currency when they travel outside the country. For example, Member1 travels to country 1, Member 2 travels to country 2, and Member 3 stays in their home country. Members of the same family wallet should be able to use the money seamlessly irrespective of where they are located.
Benefits of a blockchain network
- Telecom companies across countries can quickly validate the identity of a subscriber who is registered with the telecom operator in their blockchain network.
- The blockchain network increases the transparency of transactions between the operators and the movement of money by the subscribers.
- The subscriber has access to the services that the telecom providers are partnered with in the visiting country.
- The subscriber has a seamless experience using his mobile wallet while traveling internationally.
- Foreign Exchange Authority can be part of the blockchain network to have visibility in movement of money across countries via a mobile wallet.
Illustration of global mobile wallet using blockchain
Figure 1. Global mobile wallet using blockchain
- Subscribers of Telecom Operator 1 operating in Country 1 (say India is the Home Country) have mobile wallet accounts with local currency (Rupee). Their identity is verified by the telecom operator.
- Telecom Operator 1 has partnered with vendors in Country 1 for services like booking movie/event tickets, bus/rail tickets, paying in restaurants, shopping online, or accessing medical services.
- Subscribers choose the Telecom Operator 1 as the payment mode in those vendor sites when purchasing via mobile wallet.
- Next, a subscriber plans to travel to Country 2 (say, USA is the Visiting Country). So, he creates another wallet with the home Telecom Operator 1 for USD currency, and then travels to USA.
- The subscriber gets a view of all the telecom operators in USA who have partnered with Telecom Operator 1. They are also able to view the list of vendors who support mobile wallets from the partnered operators in USA and the discounts they offer for wallets from that operator — say Telecom Operator 2.
- Telecom Operators 1 and 2 are partners in a blockchain network and are bound by a smart contract. Telecom Operator 2 is able to quickly validate the subscriber of Telecom Operator 1 and at low cost thanks to blockchain.
- When purchasing an item from vendor site in the visiting country, the subscriber chooses Telecom Operator 2.
- The vendor application redirects the user to Telecom Operator 2’s payment gateway, which prompts for the subscriber’s mobile number and password. It then identifies that it is a global mobile wallet user and invokes a smart contract in the blockchain network to complete the payment transaction.
- Foreign Exchange Regulatory Body of the respective countries can be part of this blockchain network in order to increase transparency in the movement of money. They can use this content for audit purposes.
View of the family wallet
Figure 2. Family wallet
- The family mobile wallet will have a primary owner (for example, the father of the family) who is authorized to populate the wallet. The family has a subscription with Telecom Operator 1 operating in Country 1 (say, India) with local currency (Rupee).
- Now, Member 1 of the family travels to Country 2 (say, USA) and Member 2 of the family travels to Country 3 (say, Japan).
- A wallet that was created for each traveling member with the visiting country’s currency can be used to pay for services in the visiting country.
- All members continue to use the same mobile wallet even when they are located in different countries and use different currencies.
- A set of telecom companies operating in different countries are registered/partnered into a blockchain network and are bound by a smart contract. Other parties in this network are the Foreign Exchange Regulatory Body of the specific countries, which can view all transactions and play a role in auditing.
- All of the telecom parties in this network will have access to each other’s subscribers.
- The subscriber can seamlessly continue to use the mobile wallet in the visiting countries and use the services in both home and visiting countries.
Author: Preethi C Mohan
Co-contributors: Thanks to Gnanapriya, Principal Architect at Infosys, for collaborating with us on this use case to leverage blockchain in the telecom domain.
Thanks to the Solution Architects – Gnanapriya (Infosys), Mayur V Mehta (IBM), Murali T Srinivasasetty (IBM), Nagaraja S R (Infosys), and Varun Ojha (IBM) for their business acumen and technical contributions to this use case.