How Indian Telecom Regulator is leading the Blockchain Adoption Game in the Country

Last year, the watchdog released The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2018, asking carriers to the adoption of distributed ledger technology

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The Indian telecom industry and its regulator are setting an example for not just domestic industries but global companies too. Soon after, tackling unsolicited commercial communication (UCC) or spam messages and calls using blockchain, TRAI is now eyeing uses cases of the technology in areas like mobile number portability (MNP).


An Economic Times report quoted RS Sharma, Chairman, TRAI commending operators work on UCC and opting to work outside their silos using open source technology.

"This is the first time in the world that we're using blockchain for UCC, and we will take it in other areas, having done this trial and gained this knowledge. For instance, mobile number portability, which can be kept completely on the blockchain," Sharma added in the report.

Last year, the watchdog released The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2018, asking carriers to the adopt distributed ledger technology or blockchain as the RegTech to ensure regulatory compliance while allowing innovation in the market to manage pesky calls. This move helped telecom operators prevent unauthorised access of subscribers' data.

Soon after, telcos like Reliance Jio, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea started piloting with blockchain and went on to deploy the project to prevent pesky communication with companies like Tanla, IBM, etc.

In the recently held Trescon's World Blockchain Summit, Dilip Krishnaswamy, Vice President (New Technology Initiatives) at Reliance Jio said the initiatives by TRAI have helped the industry "leapfrog the banking sector in terms of adopting the technology" and the industry is happy to work on other use cases.

What Next

Considering the fact telcos are known for constantly fighting amongst themselves, the work done by TRAI and the industry together is truly commendable. If the technology is integrated with processes like MNP and other services, the telecom industry will move outside "the highest subscriber war zone' and purely work on improving customer experiences.

Raunaq Vaisoha, Co-founder of Elemental Labs says this serves as a great move forward towards protecting consumer data and consent rights.

"Consumers are only beginning to realize the value of their data and a proper consent management framework is essential when it comes to protecting their right to protect their data. Blockchain serves as the right backbone for this framework. Having worked with NSE on a very similar use-case for voting rights, we have seen first-hand the impact blockchain can have in securing and protecting these mission-critical systems," he pointed out.

Having said, this is also the time for other regulators such RBI, SEBI and IRDA to take notes and fast track the adoption process within their respective sectors.

"Each regulator has to identify its own use cases since they regulate different industries. In India, RBI is the most aggressive regulator as far as blockchain is concerned. SEBI and IRDAI also need to start identifying suitable use cases," Rohas Nagpal, Chief Blockchain Architect of Primechain Technologies shared.