Since the first handheld cellular mobile phone was demonstrated by John F. Mitchell and Martin Cooper of Motorola in 1973, using a handset weighing 2kg, mobile telephony has advanced in leaps and bounds.
That demonstration in 1973 laid the foundation for the birth of the cellular network industry. Just six years later, in 1979, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone launched the world’s first commercial automated cellular network (1G) analog in Japan. Mobile telecommunication has not looked back since then.
Today, the standard being deployed by companies in the industry is 5G, an offering far advanced from what was launched in 1979. Even before 5G gets fully deployed, 6G, the sixth-generation standard, is currently under development and is expected to be even faster.
Currently, T-Mobile Us Inc. TMUS, AT&T Inc. T and Vodafone Group Plc. VOD are among the more than 750 mobile operators serving 7.26 billion, making up 91.54% of the world’s population with several services, including voice and data.
First Blockchain Mobile Network?
Even before these players could get 5G services to every nook and cranny of the globe, an up and coming company based in Singapore claims it could be a first for the sector.
Gorilla Networks Pte Ltd. boasts of being the first blockchain/Web3-enabled mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in the world to offer contract-free, on-demand mobile service as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Established in 2019, the company uses Web3 technology to operate a MVNO for its users in Southeast Asia. With network coverage to over 160 countries, Gorilla reportedly offers a full suite of mobile communication services such as local calls, international roaming, data and SMS texting.
Additionally, Gorilla enables its customers to convert unused mobile data into digital assets or Gorilla GO Tokens through its proprietary blockchain-based SwitchBack feature.
Gorilla GO Tokens, in turn, can be redeemed for eVouchers to offset future bills or be redeemed for other value-added services.
The company hopes its blockchain mobile technology will not only enhance customer experience but also help solve several challenges travelers face today with accessing voice and data services abroad.
The Traveler’s Challenge
- Hassle of switching multiple prepaid SIMs at different airports
- Costly roaming data charges and international direct dialing (IDD) calls
- Inconvenient prepaid SIM top-ups at physical stores
- Home-based mobile plans without roaming data access
- Mobile roaming plans that don’t support multi-devices or sharing
Gorilla’s Solution: The Service-Layer Business Model
- Gorilla says it acts as a perfect bridge between consumers and network operators.
- The company’s interface allows swift technical integration with mobile network operators worldwide.
- Gorilla reports that its proprietary blockchain-based business support system (BSS) is interoperable, scalable and cost-efficient.
- The company also says its on-chain, on-cloud engine allows low-cost deployment into every city at high speed.
With the rebound of the travel market throughout Southeast Asia in the second and third quarters of 2022, Gorilla expects to dramatically increase its customer base by marketing to the region’s business and leisure travelers with its user-friendly technology platform.
It plans to expand its MVNO services to Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia over the next 12 months.
It will be the data-driven loyalty and e-commerce company’s first acquisition in Singapore.
SoPa believes Gorilla’s technology platform aligns well with its acquisition strategy as it incorporates the company’s blockchain and Web3 capabilities into the SoPa ecosystem and looks to enable a new meta-economy for all its portfolio companies.
The company plans to expand to more than 10 subsidiaries by the end of 2022 in eight distinct verticals — loyalty, merchant software, lifestyle, food and beverage delivery, telecoms, digital advertising, travel, and food and beverage ordering.
Since its inception in 2018, SoPa has amassed over 1.6 million registered consumers and over 5,500 registered merchants and brands on its platform.
Apart from Gorilla, SoPa provides merchants with #HOTTAB Biz, lifestyle e-Commerce through Leflair.com, online restaurant delivery service through Handycart.vn and grocery delivery through Pushkart.ph.
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Featured Photo by Gorilla Networks.