International mobile roaming has always been an extremely costly business for the few telecom companies that could afford it. Solely relying on partnerships between operators, roaming has become a vicious circle, generating huge expenses for telecoms and, consequently, for their subscribers. Carriers are forced to secure mutual financial guarantees and to seek commitment payments amounting to millions of dollars each year, and resulting in high roaming fees for travelers.
Surprisingly, the technology of mobile roaming as we know it has not evolved much over the past decades. Telecom providers still have to spend loads of money and literally years on technical convergence, testing and billing integration. Changes in partners’ infrastructure compel companies to further spend resources on adjustments in their own systems. Roaming agreements are not getting any cheaper to set up and maintain, steadily leading to high retail prices. This is especially true for developing countries with small subscriber base: large telecom players see them as not profitable enough and charge them even more for partnerships.
In a bid to disrupt this conservative industry, a group of telecom professionals created and rolled out BubbleTone. It is a blockchain-based telecom platform free from the burden of prearranged financial obligations and dependence on partner equipment or software.
What is BubbleTone?
BubbleTone is a decentralized system that allows a traveler to directly connect to a local mobile operator at local rates for voice calls and mobile internet. It also enables over a thousand operators worldwide to start earning more by servicing the travelers coming to their coverage areas with no extra investment.
The platform employs a routine feature in the GSM standard that lets the end user download the mobile profile of a foreign operator to their existing SIM card and be directly connected to the local network while also retaining their home number.
Oleg Pravdin, BubbleTone’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, says:
In the true spirit of decentralization, BubbleTone’s blockchain platform provides smart contracts to enable payments between a traveler and a foreign