Mobile World Congress 2017 – MWC

Mobile World Congress 2017 – MWC

Will the Mobile World Congress 2017 be a tipping point for Mobile Connect? Mobile Connect has all the potential of shaking the way people authenticate on a global basis. It already has over 3 billion enabled users. That’s twice as many Facebook users. So – why haven’t the average Joe heard about this? Joe shares his holiday snaps and cooked food pics all the time in Facebook.

Now – All Together, For Business

What was a resounding yes and a conclusion amongst the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) as well as government officials; “Make peace, not war”. There are still multiple countries that have only a percentage of MNOs offering Mobile Connect. The service providers such as the government, prominent e-commerce sites, B2B online sites, financial institutions expect full coverage on their own market before adopting Mobile Connect. It’s not enough to have 25 or 40% of their market covered by a single operator. There are examples of co-operation and pulling it together to address the whole market such as Canada, South Korea, India, and, thanks to the roaming Mobile ID, Finland.

In the countries where MNOs create a solution that benefits all their subscribers through co-operation, regardless of the providing MNO, mobile based identity flourishes. This was a clear message from both the MNOs and the service providers. A good example is South Korea where over 26 000 online services can utilize Mobile Connect and the number of active users is twelve million and climbing.

Beyond Authentication

Another message was also crystal clear. Authentication is only the first step into a much more diverse ecosystem. Mobile Connect basic use case is authentication. Instead of having to remember a plethora of passwords you can use Mobile Connect to authenticate to various online services with e.g. your fingerprint. But for online service providers it promises much more.

Mobile Connect is one the best tools to increase conversion and retention, improve customer satisfaction, create a frictionless onboarding and a smooth journey, and reduce fraud considerably. A dream come true for the Service Providers? It should be. The roadmap of Mobile Connect was like a sack of Christmas presents for an online service provider. It outlined GSMA products that can help not just authenticate a user, but to enable easier registration, verify identities or identity attributes, and added new ways to protect the existing Mobile Connect identity in case for e.g. SIM cloning.

Know Your Customer

The rules of acquiring a working (mobile) subscription is becoming more controlled. Countries introduce legislation that requires that for even a prepaid subscriptions you have to be able to establish a true identity. In 2008 when I moved to Italy I needed to show my Codica Fiscale – a kind of social security number on a card – to get a pre-paid subscription. Now countries like India and Pakistan have gone through a massive effort of registering their citizens. And you can’t obtain a subscription until your identity has been verified.

Know Your Customer, Anti Money Laundry regulation demand that online services should establish a trustworthy identity when registering a user. Mobile Connect can provide tools to accomplish this, even without a government issued digital identifier. The UK market has not yet launched Mobile Connect based authentication, but they are helping online services to verify identity attributes of a user through Mobile Connect.

Using Mobile Connect in the financial services was discussed, and now that the final draft of PSD2 regulatory technical standards for strong customer authentication is out we can start matching different Mobile Connect authenticators to the PSD2 requirements. Because Mobile Connect is open ended when it comes to the actual last mile of the authentication process, mobile network operators have the possibility to include such authenticators into their Mobile Connect deployment that even the strict PSD2 requirements can be met.


Another hot topic in the congress was cross-border authentication with Mobile Connect. EU and member state officials, representatives from different mobile network operators and GSMA, vendors and other interest groups sat down to discuss how Mobile Connect could be used in conjunction with the eIDAS framework. The first steps were laid out during the congress and now the work starts to create a solution where the global and federated Mobile Connect can be used within Europe to access e.g. public sector online services in another country using your mobile device (subscription).

We all know that the electronic identity cards issued by the governments are not really used. The smart cards are cumbersome, require a high level of technical skills to install drivers and additional software. I have my (fresh) eID card in my wallet, but I haven’t used it in online services, yet. It’s a great alternative for a passport in the Schengen area, but far from being a convenient and user friendly method of establishing your online identity. Every time I need to access a government online service I use my Mobile ID issued by my mobile network operator, also a founding member of Mobile Connect.

Mobile Connect has tremendous potential to become a global token for not just authentication, but much more in digital identity. If you happen to be a mobile network operator, contact us or request a demo now to hear how we can deploy a Mobile Connect for you in mere weeks.

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