LG U+ now offering a blockchain-backed overseas payment service

Korea-based LG UPlus together with Far EasTone, SoftBank and TBCASoft are launching an overseas cross-carrier payment service that allows subscribers on one carrier to complete transactions on the payment networks of another carrier without going through third parties and credit cards.

For instance, using the new service which is slated for the beginning of 2019, LG UPlus Korean subscribers can use their cellphones to buy and pay for retail goods (in-store, mobile and digital purchases) in Taiwan and Japan while subscribers of  Far EasTone users from Taiwan can do the same in Korea and Japan.

The subscribers will therefore directly be billed on their networks and can be paid directly from the subscriber's carrier, all with prompt settlement. This means the users will avoid fees on overseas credit card transactions. They are billed through their carrier in their home currency, hence avoiding effects of foreign exchange rate fluctuations.

Not only does it help connect carriers' telecommunication back-end systems, the new system will also help remove late transactions or transaction failures between telecom carriers, and help existing systems to increase business operations significantly and realize more business opportunities, said the press release.

The new service proves how blockchain can ease mobile payments even as the Carrier Blockchain Study Group (CBSG), a global blockchain consortium of telecom carriers continued to explore ways of using blockchain in the industry. Far EasTone, SoftBank, and TBCASoft are among the initial founding members of the CBSG. CBSG recently launched a new blockchain working group that will focus on  global remittance services. They also recently added six more major global telecoms forms.

The consortium is a joint initiative that aims at developing an innovative blockchain platform for telecom carriers. They also want to exploit ways that blockchain can be used to provide the members and their customers, services such as secured global digital payments, clearing and settlement, personal authentication, IoT applications and other services.   

CEO of TBCASoft and co-chairman of the CBSG Consortium Ling Wu said they were entering a new stage of "launching real world trials that demonstrate the commercial readiness of the TBCASoft blockchain platform." He said the cross-carrier payment was the first in a series of upcoming blockchain-based systems and that identity and authentication were next.  

Director of the mobile service unit at LG Uplus Joo Young-joon said the company would continue to "develop new business opportunities with BSG blockchain and global telecom leaders" in addition to this payment system. 

Softbank also, in partnership with Synchronoss Technologies and TBCASoft, recently launched a service to conduct peer-to-peer global money transfers using legacy messaging services such as SMS and email.