Are You Ready for Blockchain? Telco Billing  Is Being Transformed

The early results are in: blockchain is a game-changer for the telecom industry. Early adopters are already realizing positive impacts to their bottom line by leveraging blockchain solutions to streamline operations amongst disparate teams, processes, and systems. Blockchain solutions have the ability to simplify, complex and antiquated business operations, to align intercarrier business models more closely to their true purpose—that is, the interoperability of networks to facilitate the global economy and power the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The telecom industry has been at the forefront of technological and economic advances since inception; however, by today’s standards, it is a laggard to modern business in day-to-day operations. Blockchain solutions have proven a viable option to simplify the complex and evolving carrier services environment in a way that allows for accuracy, trust, and transparency in each business exchange. Carriers have the opportunity to modernize with blockchain solutions and recapture their forward-looking persona.

The current telecom contract, billing, and dispute environment is rife with inefficiency. These inefficiencies can largely be resolved by instituting smart bilaterals and omnilaterals. The legacy billing systems being utilized by the carriers today were built to bill a Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) network. Newer technologies do not fit into the same mold of the legacy networks as designed. The industry standard regulatory groups that built out the billing practices and procedures for the TDM network were focused on data elements that correlated to the technology at that time, i.e., switched access, special access, and private line services. Carriers were left trying to fit new technologies into billing and ordering systems that were not created for those technologies. Additionally, the pricing for the legacy TDM network was largely regulated. For example, in the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and various state based utility commissions (Pennsylvania PUC example) regulated much of the domestic TDM pricing. Services like Ethernet and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) products, have contractual pricing that is largely unregulated. The lack of regulation has created a considerable disparity across carriers and their products, both from a pricing and billing practices perspective. The combination of antiquated billing systems and unregulated pricing has contributed to perpetual billing issues. 

Telecom carriers have operated for too long with antiquated back-office systems while also struggling to automate cost reconciliation and revenue assurance.  The result being overlooked claims, time intensive disputes, accrual mishaps and revenue blockage in the face of complex legal, regulatory, and compliance issues. The reactive patchwork method of approaching change by layering swivel-chair fixes to processes and systems has created a whole new set of problems at every turn. The financial, operational, and emotional impacts on all parties dealing with issues stemming from this environment constrict growth and innovation.

The future of our business is in blockchain solutions. A comprehensive solution incorporates the functional layers of the blockchain architecture. The telecom industry needs to prepare now for the future. Growth and innovation within the telecom industry extends beyond having the best marketing team to compete for subscribers. First movers will capture early synergies.  Moreover, first movers will be able to strategically position from a reactive mode to a proactive mode to change and complexity—two constants in the industry.

Industry thought leaders are beginning to formulate standards to pave the way for mass adoption. A number of domestic and international carriers are operating nodes on the W3C DID standards-based Integrated Trust Network (ITN). MEF has also published the industry’s first standard for the telecom industry’s use of blockchain that defines smart bilaterals and smart omnilaterals.  Sage Management is proud to stand among these thought leaders, collaborate on the path forward, and play our role in realizing this revolution.

April D. Taylor, SVP Blockchain

April Taylor serves as the Senior Vice President of Blockchain for Sage Management and has over 20 years of telecom experience.  As SVP of Blockchain, Ms. Taylor has helped clients create an accurate rated inventory, execute real time rated ordering, develop smart contracts for blockchain, and implement optimal pricing resulting in over $2.5B in realized savings. She is a subject matter expert on telecommunications ordering, billing, network inventory, contracts, and blockchain subjects.

Ms. Taylor double majored in Finance and Accounting at Virginia Tech and started her career as a Systems Analyst for the Department of Defense.  During her time at Sage, she has held telecom financial analyst and director of blockchain positions, where she successfully identified and negotiated over $250M in telecommunications disputes across all global products and services and has implemented blockchain solutions for global telecommunications carriers.

Sage Management:

Sage is the only telecom auditing and blockchain firm trusted by the world’s largest carriers, US federal agencies, and large enterprise markets. Sage began in the carrier space in 2004 auditing off-net invoices for AT&T, Lumen, and Verizon, as well as many other carriers. Sage has conducted audits for over 100 of the Fortune 1000, resulting in both impactful savings and accurate network inventories for industry leaders globally. Sage has saved its clients over $4B and now works with the largest global telecommunications carriers on blockchain solutions enabling organizations to streamline their ordering, billing and dispute processes.  Sage has been recognized by Channel Vision’s Visionary 2022 Spotlight as the top Back Office and OSS Innovations Service Provider in technology.