This PoC brings together service providers and a technology provider within the framework of the MEF Commercial and Business Committee to accelerate the onboarding and operationalization of billing and settlement between two service-provider partners using DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) and Smart Contracts. It provides a framework for multiple Smart Bilaterals, based on the developing working draft, MEF W114 DLT-Based Commercial and Operational Framework—Billing and Settlement, and used by both Buyer and Seller of LSO Sonata APIs.
MEF’s Smart Bilaterals promise major advances in cryptography, messaging, and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) that make it possible to deliver secure and private synchronization of systems of record between telecoms that is cost-effective, dynamic, and automated—by establishing a DLT-based shared ledger.
Service providers spend untold millions of dollars on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and other systems for external-facing commercial transactions with their telecom partners. Because these systems of record are not typically synchronized between telecoms, there are considerable inefficiencies, and thus increased costs, in commercial transactions: disputes, lost inventory, inflated capital costs, regulatory actions, etc.
This inefficiency can be mitigated by creating a common frame of reference for commercial transactions.
DLT has been on MEF’s radar for several years. Over the past 12 months, MEF members have conducted numerous discussions around this topic to enable globally-federated value networks. As a result of these discussions, MEF members approved a project to develop a new MEF standard, MEF W114, which defines the use of DLT and, in particular, Smart Bilaterals within bilateral commercial billing transactions, in full alignment with the existing MEF LSO architecture and MEF LSO Sonata standards.
Two MEF member service providers—HGC and DCconnect—are collaborating with QLC Chain and MEF to create the world’s first Smart Bilateral, based on a working draft of MEF W114.
The implementation of a new Smart Bilateral with two telecom wholesale partners into this PoC was completed within just seven weeks.
Additional Smart Bilaterals will be formed with additional service providers, in which onboarding includes initiation, technical, and commercial setup, through to service operation, process implementation, and completion.
To benefit from a ‘network effect,’ more Smart Bilaterals need to be created. A service provider that wants to be onboarded into a new Smart Bilateral in the PoC will need the following stakeholders:
- Billing and legal subject-matter expert (SMEs)
- System/integration and quality assurance engineers
- Project manager
- Business sponsor
Without the growth of the number of Smart Bilaterals in the telecom industry, service providers will not be able to enjoy the benefits of using DLT including:
- Cost reductions, through automation and synchronization, virtually eliminating costly billing errors and process cycle times.
- New revenue streams, by cost-effectively supporting very high volumes of transactions for short-lived services, which are increasingly important in the era of Bandwidth on Demand, IoT, NFV/5G, Slicing, etc.