Asia’s Mobile Industry Unites behind Mobile Connect

July 6, 2017

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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/

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