Since the drafting of eIDAS in 2014, there has been a renewed interest from businesses, particularly in Europe, in secure cross-border trade using digital services. Initiatives such as the Mobile Connect-eIDAS pilots, both in 2015 and the upcoming pilot, which demonstrate how mobile networks can be used to identify an EU-citizen of one Member State in order to gain access to a public service of another, have helped the wider industry understand -and prepare for- the impact of digital technology on cross-border commerce.
Earlier this month, the financial sector seemed to take a step closer towards improving cross-border payments, after it was reported that the Bank of England successfully tested an “interledger” programme developed by Ripple, the California-based blockchain specialist, to synchronise a payment between two central banks’ systems that simultaneously processes “a successful cross-border payment”. According to Mr Daniel Aranda, Head of Europe at Ripple, the test showed that the interledger, which uses cryptographic algorithms to securely co-ordinate money transfers, could reduce the time it takes to settle a large cross-border payment from between two and four days to “only a few seconds”.
The ease and speed with which cross border transfers was the subject of a recent surveyby Saxo payments. The survey, which asked companies the main challenges they faced over cross-border payments, concluded that transaction fees, getting the best financial exchange rate and risk of fraud are the three leading concerns for companies when making and accepting cross-border payments.
Concern over fraud has one of the major obstacles to establishing secure cross-border payments and has been heavily debated in recent years. In an attempt to bring countries into regulatory alignment, eIDAS provides a consistent pan-EU regulatory environment for the electronic identification of individuals and for a set of electronic trust services, namely electronic signatures, seals, time stamps, registered delivery services and certificates for website authentication. Mobile network operators, with their presence in markets across the globe and universal technology, are ideally suited to support financial and commercial services with secure authentication and verification.
The suitability of mobile networks to enable secure cross-border trade extends beyond Europe. In Asia, China has turned its attention to the security of cross-border transactions. China’s recently enacted Cybersecurity Law requires that security assessments are made before personal information and important data are provided to any entity or individual outside of China. Additionally, China has published draft legislation addressing the requirements for local storage and cross-border data transfers and, amongst other things, assessment guidelines for security assessments of cross-border data.
Across the globe, operators can play a role in facilitating cross-border trade operator-developed identity solution, Mobile Connect. Speaking at the industry seminar ‘Deploying Mobile Identity Services Across Asia’ Glen Porter, Managing Director of the digital intelligence firm GBG, explained that Mobile Connect, with its privacy promise, gives people control over which companies they share what data with and could be suitable for various regulatory environments. As pointed out by Porter, Mobile Connect can help combat fraud by using operator attributes -such as usage history and location data- to verify transactions.
Marta Ienco, Head of the Government & Regulatory affairs, Personal Data
As we draw closer to the implementation of the eIDAS Regulation in September 2018, both governments and private-sector service providers prepare to capitalise on its impact. Designed to enable citizens to carry out secure cross-border electronic transactions such as university enrollment, bank account opening, filing multiple tax returns and authorising access to electronic medical records, eIDAS is expected to stimulate the growth of online cross-border transactions. Launched in 2014 as a collaboration between the GSMA and many of the world’s leading mobile network operators, Mobile Connect is a multi-purpose identity solution that uses the inherent trust, security and ubiquity of mobile networks. Mobile Connect uses the power of mobile to ensure that people can login as quickly as possible; when a consumer logs into a service using Mobile Connect, they receive a message on their mobile device asking them to either confirm the action, or enter a PIN or other authenticators like biometrics in the case of more sensitive applications. To date, Mobile Connect is supported by 52 MNOs, live in 29 countries and available to over 3 billion people.
Designed according to the technical and regulatory requirements of eIDAS, Mobile Connect featured in a cross-border eIDAS-complaint pilot in late 2015, where it became the first private-sector cross-border public service authentication solution compatible with eIDAS. Building on this success, Mobile Connect will again be used in an eIDAS-compliant trial before the regulation comes into effect.
Working with multiple private and public sector stakeholders, the aim of the upcoming pilot is to deliver a commercially viable, government-backed identity solution that can support deployment and scaling of eIDAS within two or more European countries. The pilot will demonstrate how Mobile Connect can be easily integrated into the existing eIDAS nodes of the Member States and meet the eIDAS technical and legal interoperability requirements due to its decentralised, federated architecture and adaptability to different level of assurance. This, in turn, will illustrate how Mobile Connect can support a broad variety of public and private sector use-cases.
By working together with the government representatives and the eIDAS node providers in several Member States, mobile network operators have the opportunity to unlock the potential of the digital economy and become the defacto approved and trustworthy digital identity and authentication providers in Europe and more globally. As estimated by GSMAi, there are more than $4 billion new revenues that can be generated per year by 2020 for identity players providing authentication, authorisation, identity and attributes services via eIDAS.
The pilot has been endorsed by major European mobile operators as well as government institutions and Mobile Connect technology partners from multiple EU Member States including Norway, France, Finland and Estonia. Key participants include the Norwegian Agency for Public Management and e-Government (Difi), Telenor, Telia Company, Orange, the Estonian Information System Authority, the Finnish Population Register Centre and the Mobile Connect technology partner, AriadNEXT. The European Commission services of DG CONNECT and DIGIT are also supporting the pilot by providing guidance on the architecture interoperability requirements and other regulatory issues.
As preparation for the pilot begins, Member States are taking measures to ensure they are ‘eIDAS and Mobile Connect ready’. For example, Difi, as the Norwegian eIDAS node provider, have been working closely with Telenor to integrate their national reference node with Telenor Mobile Connect, effectively completing the national technical implementation of eIDAS in a connectivity test environment. Difi has also tested their eIDAS node with several EU Member States including Denmark, Estonia, France, Iceland, Sweden and the UK, thus providing fertile ground for the testing of cross-border transactions.
The GSMA welcomes the participation of any organisation that would like to take part in the pilot, such as members of the eIDAS Cooperation Network of the Member States, mobile operators, vendors, service providers and organisations from the adjacent sectors. To find out more, please contact the GSMA’s Marta Ienco.
Shanghai—A broad array of MNO’s across Asia have underscored their commitment to Mobile Connect after revealing how the identity solution is central to their aims of enabling more digital services and revenues across the region.
During last week’s industry event ‘Deploying Mobile Identity Services Across Asia’ at Mobile World Congress Shanghai, operators and other tech companies from China (China Mobile Internet Company and China Unicom), Pakistan (TPS), Singapore (Singtel) and South Korea (SKT) endorsed the solution as a means to solve the continent’s -and indeed the world’s- need for a secure, interoperable identity solution.
As summarised by Glen Porter, Managing Director of the digital intelligence firm GBG, Asia is now entering a phase of digital maturity; 45% of Asia now has access to the internet, 35% more than the global average. This increase in connectivity is allowing more digital services to enter the market, however, providers of such services should be aware that consumer behaviour is fundamentally changing. Merchants could no longer rely on the trust gained from face-to-face interactions and must attempt to build it in other ways. Compounding this was the vast increase in the number of times people have to explain who they are to access services. Crucial to avoiding loss of consumer trust, Porter explained, was the need for organisations to be transparent and responsible with the use of customer data.
For this reason, Mobile Connect, with its privacy promise that gives people control over which companies they share what data with, is uniquely placed to develop consumer trust in Asia. As pointed out by Porter, Mobile Connect can also help combat fraud by using operator attributes -such as usage history and location data- to verify transactions. He claimed this would be particularly valuable in South East Asia where 42% of people still experience ATM fraud.
Seeking to bring secure and convenient digital identity to the Singapore, operator Singtel confirmed that Mobile Connect will be available later this year in the city state, where people will be able to use it to log in to EZ-Link, FOX Networks Group, HungryGoWhere, NETS, Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH), Singtel Dash and WTS Travel websites. Speaking at the event, Singtel’s Jef Ng confirmed that a common API had been launched for easy integration, and MOU’s have been signed for the identity solution to become operational in November 2017.
SKT, who have already launched Mobile Connect in the guise of ‘T-Auth’, were able to point to its immediate success. Since its launch in August 2016, T-Auth has 7 million active users in Korea, making it the number one most downloaded ‘financial app’ on both Google and Apple app stores, and the 17th most downloaded app in total. SKT’s Andy Kim argued that customers had shown a great appetite for a secure identity solution for use with their current services. For example, when SKT’s customers sought to check their credit, the operator suggested that T-Auth could be used to provide more secure and convenient access – this resulted in an additional 20,000 users adopting the identity solution each month. Additionally, Kim put forward a clear case for the value that Mobile Connect added for both operators and service providers; since launch, T-Auth had made SKT an average of $3 per customer whilst also driving down cart abandonment from 24% to 4%.
Speaking on behalf of Pakistani payment services broker TPS, the GSMA’s Global Head of Technology Jai Rajaraman explained how Mobile Connect makes use of one of the most universally held pieces of information -the mobile phone number- to enable and accelerate the adoption of digital services. For example, Mobile Connect and its use of number validation, has been integrated into TPS’ Digitech service to make it easier to use P2P money transfers in Pakistan. As Rajaraman explained, the simple use of the mobile phone number is also enabling the nation’s unbanked population access to digital services.
China Mobile Internet Company and China Unicom explained how the Mobile Connect would be a vital component of MNOs’ strategy to enable digital services inside China. Kong Fansheng, General Manager of Capability Platform Business at China Mobile Internet Company, spoke of how Mobile Connect slotted naturally into the operator’s authentication plans, which had now become a key pillar of its business, and central to its aims of building a larger digital ecosystem. Xiaodi Wang, the Chief Mobile Connect Architect at China Unicom explained how Mobile Connect was becoming increasingly important to the nation’s three operators following the establishment of China’s Mobile Connect joint taskforce, its interoperability between operators and its plans for integration with biometrics.
After successful launches in multiple countries across the globe, Mobile Connect is now rapidly becoming the identity solution of choice for service providers seeking to market new services and protect their reputation. For more information on Mobile Connect, please visit https://www.gsma.com/identity/
Asia is experiencing a rapid transformation of its digital services. According to Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends Report, mobile has surpassed both desktop computers and TV’s as the China’s most popular means of consuming media, while In India, mobile is now responsible for a staggering 80% of web traffic. This presents the region’s service providers with an opportunity to develop more sophisticated, convenient and engaging services.
Central to enabling such services is a digital identity solution that is secure, convenient and protects privacy. Such a solution already exists; Mobile Connect, the mobile industry’s answer to the problem of secure digital identity.
Mobile Connect is gaining ground across the continent. In India, Mobile Connect partnerships have been forged by six of nation’s operators to bring new services to large sections of the population. Launched in India last year, the identity solution enables login to Vodafone’s mobile money service mPesa, which is currently used by over 2 million users in the region.
Jazz, in Pakistan, has used Mobile Connect to provide customers with a more secure and convenient means of logging in to their e-care portal. Since using Mobile Connect, the operator has seen a 147% increase in conversion from visitors to registered users, and a 79% increase in new monthly registrations. Pakistani service provider TPS are also preparing to use Mobile Connect to verify user’s identity for their upcoming money transfer services for unbanked mobile users in developing nations.
In the Republic of Korea, SK Telecom has now launched the Mobile Connect API on top of its existing identity and authentication platform, T-Authentication, carrying over 62m transactions per month and connecting nearly 27,000 service providers to SK Telecom users. Singapore also has plans to launch the solution later this year; users will be able to use it to log in to EZ-Link, FOX Networks Group, HungryGoWhere, NETS, Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH), Singtel Dash, and WTS Travel websites.
Mobile Connect will be central to this year’s Mobile World Congress Shanghai, featuring in a dedicated industry seminar and a series of live demonstrations inside the GSMA Innovation City.
The seminar ‘Deploying Mobile Identity Services Across Asia’, hosted on 29 June, is aimed at operators and digital service providers looking to offer secure identity services to their customers. After exploring the growth of Mobile Connect and the unique role that Mobile Connect can offer consumers and service providers, this seminar will showcase use-cases and working practices from those already deploying the service.
A large selection of Mobile Connect demonstrations can be found in the event’s GSMA Innovation City. Here, attendees can experience how the identity solution is used in a variety of contexts such as fraud reduction, privacy control, transaction authorisation and interoperable authentication.
Find out more and register for Deploying Mobile Identity Services Across Asia
Find out more about Mobile Connect in the GSMA Innovation City
See below for a list of digital identity demonstrations in the GSMA Innovation City
Across the Asia, Mobile Connect is being incorporating into a variety of services. From finance through to customer services, the digital identity solution is demonstrating how it can add a new dimension to services with secure and convenient identity. Now available to over 3 billion users, our demonstrations in the GSMA Innovation City are an ideal opportunity to experience the capabilities of Mobile Connect.
See below for a list of Digital Identity demonstrations in the GSMA Innovation City:
|Demonstration||Product / Type||Partners|
|Experience how Mobile Connect provides seamless and secure login to online services with these demonstrations showcasing how consumers can access their email and travel services account using Mobile Connect, in collaboration with Chinese operators: China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom. Visitors will only have to choose Mobile Connect when logging in (adding their mobile phone number), without the need to enter any username or password.||Mobile Connect Authentication||China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom|
|Mobile Connect offers secure and private authorisation of online transactions. This pod features two demonstrations:
||Mobile Connect Authorisation||KB Bank, SK Telecom, Visa|
|Mobile Connect helps end users engage with digital services quickly and efficiently, share personal data only when they want to and assert their identity when needed. Learn how with Mobile Connect you can automatically share your personal data with Payfone while applying for a card loan.||Mobile Connect Identity||Payfone.|
|Mobile Connect leverages mobile network information to provide a range of identification verification services to help mitigate fraud. Learn how a consumer can send money securely to a third party in an ATM and use Mobile Connect to verify that third party identity using the Pakistani financial services company TPS.||Mobile Connect Attributes||TPS|
Wed 28th June: 09:00 – 17:30
Thu 29th June: 09:00 – 18:30
Fri 30th June: 09:00 – 17:30
Industry event reveals how Mobile Connect has evolved well beyond its authentication moorings
LONDON — Last week, global leaders in the mobile industry and adjacent sectors convened in London to discuss the increasingly pressing need for an identity solution that meets the needs of both national and global service providers.
Central to the debate was the degree to which these needs can be served by Mobile Connect, the operator-led identity solution. As emphasised by many speakers at the event, one of its greatest strengths was its interoperability; that is to say its potential for use on apps and internet services regardless of users’ operator.
Operators attending the summit agreed that operator collaboration and offering interoperable identity solution are essential. As remarked by Atish Gude, President of Corporate Strategy at Verizon, a single ‘Mobile operator can’t solve the problem of security themselves’. Throughout the event, there was a growing sense that interoperability was of vital strategic importance to operators in their bid to carve a space in the identity market.
Dario Betti, Director of Products at MTS backed Mobile Connect to unite operators and drew attention to the strategic importance of operators’ working collaboratively to leverage their unique offerings in the identity space: ‘operators are already managing a large ID service and need to think of it strategically – collaboration is fundamental for scale’.
It was agreed that operator attributes were one way in which MNOs could have a profound impact on identity. Mobile Connect can be used to offer a variety of attributes such as location, purchase history and usage history, which in turn can be used by service providers and public sector services to help verify transactions in a secure and timely speedy fashion.
Speaking of their experience in offering an attribute-based service, Telefonica recounted how their efforts to provide banks with an attribute-based identity solution. They claimed their solution, which used customer location to verify purchases, had been significantly impeded by being unable to offer banks a solution which drew upon customer data of all operators in that market. Here, the implication was clear – service providers are making a clear demand for an interoperable solution.
Interoperability was also seen as vital to unlocking cross-border transactions. After showing itself to be the first private-sector cross-border public service authentication solution compatible with European Union eIdentification and Trust Services (eIDAS) Regulation, Mobile Connect has been designed with cross-border services in mind. Indeed, the event revealed how the consideration for a cross-border identity solution was increasingly important to operators. According to Andrew Kim, Project Leader at SK Telecom, lack of interoperability with Chinese operators had resulted in authentication failures, resulting in denial of content purchases and ultimately a loss of revenue.
Through the event, the message on interoperability and collaboration was clear, operators are moving away from the practice of offering propriety identity solutions and uniting behind Mobile Connect and its products in order to offer customers and service providers a secure, versatile and convenient solution fit for the rapidly evolving digital age in which we live.
With over 3 billion enabled users worldwide and its federated distributed architecture, Mobile Connect is a leading example of a mobile identity and authentication solution for governments, mobile network operators and private sector service providers.
Having been designed to meet eIDAS requirements, there are many ways in which the identity solution can be used to improve the security, privacy and convenience of public sector services across Europe. With the deadline for eIDAS mandatory recognition of notified EU identity schemes rapidly approaching, the need for industry cooperation is becoming more urgent.
In November 2015, mobile operators and government agencies successfully launched a pilot to demonstrate how Mobile Connect can be used to identify an EU-citizen of one Member State in order to gain access to a public service in another. Operating in Spain (Catalunia) and Finland, the pilot established proof-of-concept for cross-border authentication to e-Government services, in line with the requirements of the eIDAS regulation.
The pilot enabled customers of participating Spanish operators to login to Finnish eGovernment services and vice versa. The login through a digital identity validator granted access to a complete public services portfolio. By pressing the Mobile Connect button, entering their mobile number and fulfilling a PIN request, the user’s identity was confirmed and they were logged in to the eGovernment service.
The two-month pilot was the result of collaboration between organisations seeking to accelerate the uptake of trusted and secure digital authentication in response to the eIDAS Regulation. The GSMA, with major operators, Orange Spain, Telefónica, TeliaSonera, and Vodafone Spain, supported the trial, alongside Gemalto, Mobile World Capital, the Catalonia Regional Government, the Finnish Ministry of Finance and Finnish Population Registration Centre. As a result of the trial, all parties improved their understanding of the architectural options available for the implementation of eIDAS compliant cross-border services and the key issues that determine such options.
The meaning of being eIDAS compliant: Update on the eIDAS-Mobile Connect pilot phase two
This year, the GSMA will execute phase 2 of the pilot to demonstrate the scalability of Mobile Connect as a Europe-wide solution for eIDAS. The pilot will enable cross-border authentication of EU-citizens from five different countries and will be serviced by more than nine mobile operators. This phase will also test different architectural options to demonstrate the flexibility of Mobile Connect to meet government requirements across the EU.
The overarching goal of the pilot is to create an operational forum for public–private cooperation to accelerate eIDAS implementations/notifications for mobile operators and the wider digital identity ecosystem through Mobile Connect. It will also help to ensure the interoperability of Mobile Connect with eIDAS technical specifications and facilitate a common understanding of terminology and requirements across stakeholders. At the same time, the pilot will clarify the role of new technologies and illustrate the business opportunities arising from eIDAS in the digital identity ecosystem.
The kick-off call for this pilot took place last 16th March and was very well attended by mobile operators, technology partners and government representatives, all of whom confirmed their commitment to participate in this pilot. The first Meeting of this Working Group is scheduled on 4th May in Brussels and will focus on agreeing on the use-cases and architectural options. if you are interested in joining this pilot, please contact Marta Ienco at email@example.com with the details of your organisations and email address.
Mobile World Congress revealed many ways in which mobile technology is evolving to deliver a new range of digital services. Inside the event’s GSMA Innovation City, we were given a glimpse of how improvements to network speed, coverage and power are helping to connect everything and anything. Essential to the success of all new devices and services will be the degree to which people can use them securely and conveniently.
The greater emphasis on digital identity at this year’s event is a testament to how the wider digital community is rising to meet the challenge of creating an identity solution that is interoperable, easy to use and secure. The mobile industry’s own solution, Mobile Connect, was able to demonstrate its market readiness through a wide range of live demonstrations in collaboration with a number of leading global brands.
One of the key discussions about Mobile Connect at this year’s event was the degree to which it could adapt to emerging technologies and changing business requirements. Partnering with security giant Safran, Mobile Connect was able to show how it could be used in conjunction with biometrics to check-in to a flight with an Indian airline. The solution also showcased its authorisation credentials in NSTIC‘s and InterBev’s connected vending machine, which used the solution to authorise purchases by verifying the user’s age. Building on its reputation as a potentially strong partner in finance, Mobile Connect joined forces with Visa to demonstrate how it could also be used to remotely authorise payments.
Three of the most renowned brands in the music industry, Sony Music, Universal Musicand Warner Music Group (and their playlist brand, Topsify), also united through Kuack Media Group to provide content for a demo of a new mobile-based music streaming app, Mobile Connect Music. Specifically designed to leverage the security and reliability of mobile networks, the app allowed users to access its 10 million tracks after logging in via Mobile Connect.
As was touted last year, Mobile Connect could be a key enabler for new public sector services. We were given more evidence of this in British Government’s Gov.uk/Digidentity demonstration which allowed citizens to use Digidentity (which uses the Mobile Connect technology) to verify their identity in order to check their pension account details.
Mobile Connect’s ability to enable public and private sector services was debated in a series of industry seminars featuring leading subject matter experts from the mobile industry and adjacent sectors. Speaking on the issues of the incoming identity regulation, emerging technologies and combatting fraud, industry leaders sought to agree a common approach to digital identity. Here, one of the key challenges for merchants was made clear; the transition to the digital world is drastically reducing the proportion of transactions in which buyer and seller physically meet, and thus altering the meaning of trust.
As the GSMA’s Head of Applications and Services David Pollington explained, Mobile Connect’s global architecture seeks ultimately to empower and return control its users. Indeed – as Pollington concluded – in the future, it could be that the user decides precisely how it is that they are authenticated, and how their data is shared. Now available to over 3 billion people in 29 countries and supported by 51 of the world’s leading operators, Mobile Connect can be leveraged to provide high-grade security and an enhanced customer experience across a multitude of verticals and use cases.
The identity landscape is beginning to evolve at breakneck speed. With new financial legislation set to introduce plethora of commercial opportunities yet potentially create a number of challenges, demand for high-security authentication is growing rapidly across the board.
At Mobile World Congress 2017, experts from the mobile, payment and government sectors convened at an industry seminar designed to form a consensus on associated challenges and solutions. Central the debate was the degree to which the interoperable digital identity solution, Mobile Connect, can address this burgeoning demand, as well its particular suitability for use in conjunction with emerging technologies such as biometrics and blockchain.
According to Nets Senior Vice President Sirpa Nordlund, the market’s current fragmented approach to identity was unsustainable – sooner or later collaboration would be needed to provide an effective opposition to fraud. Here, legislation such as the EU’s PSD2, which mandates the use of two factor authentication, for example, can be a useful benchmark for service providers across the globe.
As emphasised by David Rennie – Industry Engagement Lead at the UK Digital Cabinet Office – collaboration is the clear way forward, and the panel were unanimous in their assertion that trust is of the utmost importance. As Rennie identified, Mobile Connect is uniquely placed to establish this trust by virtue of being compliant with regulations such as PSD2 and operators’ increasing involvement with so many verticals.
For Rennie, the internet’s lack of built-in identity ‘layer’ was finally reaching the critical point where fraud threatened to stunt commerce. The panel agreed that the issue of identity had never more been more importance at any time in history and that we are in fact over reliant on outdated passport technology for identity verification services.
Ideally, identity solutions need to become convenient and secure enough to the point where they are barely perceptible. It was Andrea Servida – Acting Director of the European Commission’s Trust and Cyber Security Digital Society – that highlighted the curiously paradoxical nature of the identity landscape; that as its evolution continues and authentication technologies continue to advance, identity itself will become less and less relevant. As Sirpa Nordlund put it: “the “future of identity is mobile, invisible and seamless”.
The seminar’s second half examined various ways in which Mobile Connect can be used to support future high-security trends, with particular focus upon biometrics and blockchain technology. Marcus Dormanns, Senior Director at the GSMA, examined the particular characteristics of Mobile Connect that enable it to provision the highest levels of security across multiple use cases. As Dormanns pointed out, different use cases demand both different levels of security and different means of attaining it; Mobile Connect’s architecture and compatibility across multiple dimensions enables an authentication approach tailored to the individual use case.
Rajiv Dholakia (Vice President of Products and Business Development at Nok Nok Labs) explored the tremendous diversity of biometrics as a technology, and its value in the provision of authentication services. ShoCard Vice President of Business Development Ali Nazem provided crucial insight into the inherent security and practicality of blockchain authentication, highlighting its resistance to central database hacks, and the ability of its users to choose precisely who they share their data with.
As the GSMA’s Head of Applications and Services David Pollington explained, Mobile Connect’s global architecture seeks ultimately to empower and return control its users. Indeed – as Pollington concluded – in the future, it could be that the user decides precisely how it is that they are authenticated, and how their data is shared.
Authorisation and integration with emerging technologies are two of Mobile Connect’s advances at this year’s GSMA Innovation City showcase
Identity is quickly becoming a priority for the wider digital community; developing new apps and connecting everyday devices may now be a simpler task than ensuring that they operate securely and in such a way that protects users’ privacy. It’s perhaps no surprise then that network operators, with their strong security and privacy credentials, launched their own digital identity solution, Mobile Connect.
Over the twelve months Mobile Connect has added over a billion users to its total number of enabled users, meaning that the identity solution is now available to over 3 billion people in 29 countries and supported by 51 of the world’s leading operators.
Mobile World Congress’ GSMA Innovation City, an urban environment showcasing the latest mobile technology, is the number one location to observe how the identity solution has evolved in lieu of the rise of new technologies and services.
One of the most notable developments of Mobile Connect over the last year has been the emphasis on its long term flexibility; that is to say its ability to be used in conjunction with emerging technologies, particularly biometrics.
In an airline check-in demonstration from Aadhaar (issued by the Unique Identification Authority for India) and security giant Safran Identity & Security, Mobile Connect can be used to verify identity alongside biometric facial recognition. Here we are given a glimpse of how the mobile-based solution can be as secure, yet more convenient than using traditional passports. With Mobile Connect proving itself to be capable of offering interoperable cross-border services, it could be an application especially useful for populations that border neighbouring countries.
Similarly, the touch-based authentication service, MePIN, is another service which showcases how Mobile Connect can be integrated with modern biometrics – in this case to allow consumers to log-in to their bank account and authorise transactions.
Inside the City, Authorisation can also be used to verify identity for the purchase of age-restricted products. An NSTIC and InterBev connected vending machine demonstrated this is by allowing people to use Mobile Connect to prove their age before purchase simply by responding to a prompt on their handset.
Mobile Connect also has also shown itself to have a useful application in the rapidly evolving automotive sector; acting as a substitute for physical vehicle keys. After verifying identity, the user could also potentially use their phone to change other aspects of their vehicle.
The Innovation City also featured many live services with a diversity of applications. Perhaps most popular was Mobile Connect Music, a demo of a new mobile-based music streaming app, specifically designed to leverage the security and reliability of mobile networks. The fruit of Kuack Media Group, and three of the most renowned brands in the music industry, Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music Group (and their playlist brand, Topsify), the app allows users to access up to 10 million tracks once they log in via Mobile Connect.
Building on its reputation as a potential key enabler for a host of public sector services, the British Government’s Gov.uk/Digidentity demonstration illustrates how citizens can use Digidentity (which uses the Mobile Connect technology) to verify their identity in order to check their pension account details. Unlike other solutions developed in the private sector, Mobile Connect is uniquely positioned to serve the public sector because services such as annual tax returns occur infrequently, meaning there is less likelihood that other private sector universal solutions will be developed for this purpose.
Inside the GSMA Innovation City
The diverse array of Mobile Connect’s applications demonstrate the ways in which in the identity solution has evolved to meet the requirements of a rapidly changing digital market. Being able to serve multiple sectors and adaptable to emerging technologies, Mobile Connect represents how mobile networks can form the basis for a durable and secure identity solution at a time when the market needs it most.
Mobile Connect demonstrations inside the GSMA Innovation City are located in Hall 4, Stand 4A10/ 4A30