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As avid smartphone users, we depend on mobile service providers to provide us with the network we need to use Facebook, stream shows on Netflix, and send photos to our friends wherever we are. And yet, most of us sign contracts with cell phone providers that go unaltered for years, even with changed conversation habits or less internet usage, not to mention the hassle of updating. ” a package during a trip abroad. It’s one of those services that leaves us wondering: why, in 2021, isn’t there a better way to do it?
Enter smart contracts. Powered by the blockchain, and therefore often confused with a technology limited to innovation in the financial sector, smart contracts have the potential to benefit any industry that relies on contracts. While the mainstream media still primarily covers the blockchain by keeping an eye on the price of Bitcoin or the JPEGs of monkeys sold in the millions, it is crucial not to overlook the potential of the core technology behind these phenomena, which should transforming the backbone of industries such as law, accounting and, yes, telecoms. More importantly, these changes will come to the delight of consumers.
Related: Here’s What You Need To Know About Smart Contracts
An industry that needs an update
The cellular industry today charges customers a monthly fee based on the number of minutes they talk on the phone, the number of texts they send, and the length of time they surf the web outside of a wireless network. Users who sign up give an estimate, and if they reach their maximum, either they are charged more or they need a new plan.
Without any alternatives, monthly subscriptions are a convenient payment method for mobile operators, especially considering the conversation habits of most consumers which didn’t vary much from month to month before Covid. . This was especially true when most people were working full time in an office, where they used their work phones to make calls, and where all meetings were in person.
The pandemic has led to greater openness to working from home, totally changing the paradigm; 66% percent of employers said in a recent Statista survey that they are considering redesigning office spaces for hybrid work. With employees working away from the office, they are making more work-related phone calls from their cell phones. On the other hand, they use their home Wi-Fi more and don’t use their mobile data while on business trips. Workers’ more flexible hours make it harder to predict exactly how they will use their data. Yet they are paying the same amount as before the pandemic.
A monthly subscription also does not take into account breaks when the customer is not even using data from their phone – for example, on a flight abroad. Those traveling abroad buy a local SIM card or contact their MNO to update their plan. People don’t always know how much public Wi-Fi will be available, so they’re estimating how much data they’ll need.
It’s not even to mention contacting cell phone providers about stolen phones – a logistical nightmare. In fact, many Americans pay insurance monthly to deal with these situations, which may never occur.
Related: 5 Ways Hybrid Smart Contracts Are Changing The Blockchain Industry
The path to cheaper contracts
Like finance and, more recently, digital art, the telecommunications industry is gradually adopting blockchain as a tool to improve network security and strengthen connectivity. The roots of the technology in the telecommunications industry date back to 2018, when early users Colt and PCCW tapped into it to establish inter-carrier services in conjunction with blockchain startup Clear.
Now its adoption is gaining momentum, but cryptocurrency and decentralized finance platforms are often criticized for not being user-friendly enough. In telecommunications, the end user will ideally only reap the rewards, with minimal interaction with the blockchain itself.
While the telecommunications industry uses blockchain to facilitate agreements between services, it can take advantage of smart contracts to facilitate agreements between customers and mobile phone providers. If customers change their use of data, for example, the contract will be updated automatically. Smart contracts also protect customer details and ensure that all data is kept on the blockchain.
Roaming smart contracts will detect if a customer is traveling abroad and allow almost instant billing. There will be no need to buy a local SIM card and certainly no need to get hold of a mobile network operator, saving travelers valuable time. A blockchain solution can allow telecom providers to store customer details on the blockchain along with the SIM data. This way, MNOs can instantly block a stolen device and notify the customer if a device has been stolen.
Smart contracts have the potential to revolutionize the telecommunications industry by facilitating logistics roaming issues and customer management issues. Instead of paying the same price each month with expensive phone insurance, customers will only pay for how much data they use.
Once synonymous with Bitcoin, and more recently associated with other cryptocurrencies and financial technologies, blockchain permeates barely discussed industries in the tech ecosystem, and it’s unlikely to end. Just as blockchain has the potential to revolutionize education and healthcare by creating a transparent environment with a renewed focus on students and patients, mobile phone providers could offer customers not only the most advanced smartphones, but also the most advanced service.
Related: Here’s How Smart Contracts Can Be Designed