How Blockchain is Disrupting Telecom

Aakash Ahuja
2 min readMay 3, 2022

It’s telecom this time, or telecom infra companies to be precise — to be disrupted by blockchain.

Came to know about the Helium blockchain from someone last week and dug deeper. Let’s see how it deceptively hides its simplicity under its visible brilliance.

First, let’s understand how telecom infra works. Telecom requires telecom towers — the small ones on your roof to the tall hideous ones ghosting vast green fields. Towers are managed by different companies. Telecom companies use them to provide coverage and pay a fee for the usage. Let’s not worry about roaming for now and keep it as a very simple view of things for now.

Now the world is happy and blissed out with the wilful, feline presence and absence of mobile networks.

The enters Helium. With a very simple deal.

Get a helium compatible device, which by the way allows people to access internet. Install the device, let people connect to it and surf the internet.

You spend on electricity (~5W consumption), and are paid in HNT (native Helium cryptocurrency) for letting people connect to internet through your device. So, you earn, simple.

But there are open questions — who pays for the HNTs you minted? Helium itself, in USD pegged equivalents.

Two last missing pieces:
1) How does Helium earn to pay you in the first case?
2) What is in it for the telecom industry?

Let’s answer both these in 1 sweep: A telecom company now pays Helium to let its users access internet through its global network, completely bypassing the need for expensive roaming contracts, and in local cases, bypassing the need for tower installations. Helium pays you in turn for your contribution.

Blockchain comes. Everyone wins (except the ones missing out on revenues, who now need to embrace the disruption).