News & Analysis

Is Blockchain the Answer to 5G Fraud?

Amidst the growing instances of financial frauds in the 5G era, a new market report suggests that blockchain tech could be a solution

Telecom-related financial frauds are on the increase post the upgrade to 5G services and the solution could possibly lie in the faster adoption of blockchain technology in the industry. India is already reporting a spike in the number of phishing attacks as consumers eager to use the faster network fall prey to cyber criminals. 

A report published in the ET quotes Sundar Balasubramanian, managing director, India and SAARC at Check Point Software to suggest that this isn’t surprising, given India is second only to China in the number of smartphone users. He said scammers are cashing in on this shift by offering freebies in return for sensitive personal information such as OTPs. 

So, what’s the modus operandi being used? In fact, it is similar to what has been used for years now, he says pointing to that egregious email or text from someone posing as a telco staffer who offers a free 5G upgrade with some lucrative deals. And once the user clicks a link or enters an OTP, malware gets loaded on the handset, leaving it open to hacking. 


Blockchain in telecom poised for growth

However, there is good news around the corner. Verified Market Research says blockchain tech in the telecom market could be poised for massive growth over the next five years, reaching $5.3 billion by 2028 with a CAGR of over 80% over the next few years. It was valued at $85.8 million in 2020, says the report.  

“Blockchain technology has several uses in the telecom sector, including the automation of numerous internal processes including billing systems, roaming, and supply chain management,” Verified Market Research says in a press statement.  

The statement says, “almost all industries have accepted Blockchain as a technology because it has the ability to disrupt or alter business practices. It is a wonderful answer for the most crucial necessity of the telecom sector, which is to hold historical user records without any possibility of those records being altered.” 


5G adoption is fuelling this growth

The obvious catalyst to this strong growth is the fast-paced adoption of 5G globally, given that this faster network enables efficient and dependable blockchain operation. “Fraud in the telecom industry is a rapidly expanding area of criminal activity,” the report said while underscoring the importance of distributed ledger technology. 

“Blockchain can aid communication service providers in the detection and prevention of fraud. Scalability and interoperability are prerequisites for widespread use of blockchain technology. Only when industry standards are established, which is now in a developing stage, is this conceivable,” the statement says. 

Some of the companies that the research report highlighted as key players in blockchain technology include IBM, SAP, Microsoft, AWS, Huawei, Blockchain Foundry, Oracle, ShoCard, Guardtime, Block and Filament. 


What areas can blockchain safeguard?

While the value from blockchain is now well understood by most, questions on the exact use cases, what can be expected, and where to get started are often discussed. A recent study by Greyhound Research, a leading global analyst firm, found that nearly 50% of all CSPs globally are either actively discussing the use of blockchain or have already started implementing it for select use cases. 

The study highlights three key areas where telco executives expect immediate value from blockchain – helping safeguard consumer data and ensuring privacy, play catalyst to newer digital business models, and help revive growth in the form of newer products and services. 

In a note, Indian IT major Infosys states that the value of blockchain for telecom lies in the security, transparency, data immutability, and control it provides across the ecosystem at every point of a transaction. Based on their ongoing conversations with telecom executives around the globe, we believe there are five use cases where blockchain can add immediate and tangible value. These include: roaming and settlements, identity management, SLA monitoring, prevention of device theft and number portability. 

Leave a Response