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Yuri Morozov, founder of Bubbletone Blockchain for Telecom: "With the help of the blockchain, we can change the entire global ecosystem of telecommunications"

An interview with Bubbletone Blockchain for Telecom founder, Yuri Morozov, whose company aims to revolutionize the roaming market through their blockchain technology, allowing travelers to connect directly with local mobile service providers.

04.Jan.18 12:42 PM
By Daria Zaytseva


Yuri Morozov, founder of Bubbletone Blockchain for Telecom: "With the help of the blockchain, we can change the entire global ecosystem of telecommunications"

-Tell us a bit about your company. How did you get started, and what are you doing today?

- Our corporate group started in 1997 with conventional telephony. In 2002 we launched one of the first convergence projects based on fixed and mobile networks with Megafon and eventually Beeline. Today, our brand, Allo Incognito, provides high-tech mobile and fixed-line telecom services, as well as new generation telecommunications services to corporate and private clients. With our client base of more than 200,000 people, we are one of the largest virtual operators in Russia. In addition, one of our companies is a Skolkovo resident, where we are developing a platform to load mobile profiles on telephones. And of course, our Bubbletone app can be downloaded and installed on Apple and Android smartphones, which allows subscribers to access local mobile rates in over 80 countries.

- Letís talk about Bubbletone. Travelers today face high roaming fees and/or need to use a new local phone number by purchasing a local SIM card. Why is the roaming market so complex?

- The process for any new player entering todayís international roaming market is very expensive, in terms of both time and money. You canít simply go off and start transmitting a signal. First you have to reach an agreement with a roaming hub Ė a major international alliance of players on this market. If you obtain permission, you then need to make more than 500 agreements with mobile operators and then conduct a whole range of technical tests. You also need to demonstrate that you will bring a large number of clients to the network. If you are not a major player, you will not be granted access to the market, or they will establish prohibitive tariffs that are much higher than local tariffs.

- So, entry is difficult for the service provider, but why is roaming itself so expensive? For instance, the Internet is becoming cheaper all over the world, yet itís still quite costly for travelers.

- Traditional roaming is highly inefficient. The partner operator of a mobile company provides voice communications abroad, while the Internet passes through the access point of the home operator. This is like flying from Moscow to Berlin through Tokyo. When a subscriber is roaming, their Internet usage makes the same enormous loop through the home operator before getting to the subscriberís telephone. Roaming Internet does not offer great quality or speed because of this.


- What makes Bubbletone Blockchain for Telecom different from the present system?

- The roaming business hasnít changed for more than 30 years, which means it hasnít overcome built-in inefficiencies. Bubbletone aims to eliminate expensive international roaming by creating a large blockchain platform for the telecom market that will connect users and operators directly. We are essentially creating new rules of the game for this market by offering a distributed and independent platform for all operators, removing the need for bulky, out-of-date infrastructure.

- That is an ambitious plan. How will you implement it?

- We have already created a platform capable of loading mobile profiles onto SIM cards over the air, which guarantees the same level of prices and quality as those of a local subscriber in any country. This basically eliminates the need to buy a new SIM card when you arrive at your destination. Before you leave home, you will be able to access our mobile application, select the offer of any operator and the optimal tariff plan, and immediately buy it. Since Bubbletone is linked to the blockchain platform, payment is made rapidly through a smart contract. This allows a traveler to essentially become a local subscriber in the country where he or she is going, so they receive mobile services at the same tariffs as local residents. Internet quality is also improved because access will be provided directly through a guest operator. Our blockchain solution will allow clients greater facility in accessing mobile services when travelling.

- What led you to develop a blockchain solution?

- We have been active in the telecom business for over 20 years, but we are a small company with no direct access to the global roaming market. We had to partner with large operators like Megafon and Beeline, but this type of relationship caused difficulties. For instance, we were responsible for all roaming payments, so we would make full payments in advance on our clientsí behalf. Occasionally billing from the partners would be delayed because it was not provided online, so we would be forced to disconnect our clients once their balance was reached. Obviously, that led to complaints. It was also difficult to recover money from clients who exceeded their prepaid balances, so we explored blockchain technology. Blockchain freed us from the need to have these inefficient, cumbersome contracts with companies from other countries in order to transfer mobile profiles to our platform. With the Bubbletone solution, operators all over the world can create their own offers through smart contracts and deal directly with clients. Meanwhile, clients enjoy mobile services of the same high quality and low price as local subscribers.

- How does the operator verify who the client is?

- It is based on the verified data from the home operator. When a subscriber wants to buy the services of an operator from another country directly, their personal data is transferred in encrypted form through blockchain to a foreign operator, which is the universal way of confirming the identity of the subscriber. That means, travelers will no longer have to undergo complex identification procedures when buying communications services in the Bubbletone blockchain. All you need to do is confirm the use of your data every time you visit a new country.

-This platform could disrupt the international roaming system as we know it. How will you convince mobile operators to participate in a platform that aims to undermine their present business model?

- Our technology levels the playing ground. Small and medium-sized companies who arenít major players on the global market will be able to significantly increase sales, because they will be able to provide communications services to travelers on a par with the largest operators, but at local tariffs that are attractive to tourists. Effectively, we are promoting local mobile markets to the global level.

- Are there benefits for global companies as well?

- There are benefits for all operators. In blockchain the data of the SIM cards of a foreign operator are loaded onto the telephone over the air in the form of cryptokeys. Our system eliminates the costly need for intermediaries, store overheads, and even the issue of the SIM card itself. This means that operators can set a final price for the services that is lower than the price on the local market, which will immediately attract clients.

- How difficult is it for operators to integrate your platform into their systems?

- Itís not difficult at all, and we are here to guide them through the process. Our flexible and simple-to-use platform can be downloaded for free from GitHub. Bubbletone prepares and transfers the templates of all the smart contracts to mobile communications operators. That means operators can integrate into our system in just a few days.

- You have an upcoming ICO beginning in March. How will funds be used?

- The crowdfunding will allow us to continue our platform development and enable global distribution of our blockchain solution. It will depend on the amount of funding we raise how those funds are deployed. For example, if we collect around $50 million, it would allow us to develop and provide an opportunity for online service providers all over the world to sell their services, including entertainment content, educational programs, etc., to mobile subscribers globally. Since their identities have already been verified, local communications operators will be able to help to sell those products easily. If we collect $100 million, we could make an even greater impact with a global mobile profile. That means we could place SIM cards in the chipsets of telephones, and our SIM profiles would already be pre-loaded in mobile devices, making the platform even more attractive for subscribers.

- Are there any specific markets you are targeting?

- We position ourselves as partners to operators, big or small, who want to offer the most profitable solutions for their clients.

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