A Partnership For Growth – Identity Services In India

With the advent of Aadhaar, India became a global leader in identity as a service and the country’s Digital India campaign has been supported by rapidly growing mobile internet adoption. Early on, Indian mobile operators were crucially aware of the valuable contribution they could make to the nascent identity ecosystem and in 2016, the then six leading mobile operators1 achieved a collaborative launch of federated identity services based on the GSMA’s Mobile Connect technology.

However, large scale growth has been hindered with difficulties around procuring the service from multiple operators. In 2017 the GSMA began piloting a scheme to offer Mobile Connect to enterprise customers through a single commercial and operational interface.

Product availability

The two identity products available to date, Verified MSISDN and Verified MSISDN Share lend themselves to multiple use cases, including fraud protection, whereby only authorised mobile numbers can carry out transactions through a given device; and a superior customer experience ensuring user convenience and security.

For instance, several of India’s largest online travel companies are making customer registration and log-in easier on their apps and websites. Goibibo users can simply enter their mobile phone number and are then seamlessly logged-in based on a silent confirmation affected by the respective mobile operator; whilst user-friendly companies like Yatra are doing away with the need for users to manually fill in their mobile number at the time of registration and also enable seamless log-in at time of app invocation without any friction or manual intervention. Users are transparently informed about the role of their mobile operator in the entire process.

Rajesh Dalal, Vice President, Technology at Go-MMT, says “Our core value differentiator is the most trusted user experience, from search through to payments; Mobile Connect convenient and secure login fits in perfectly with our promise of seamless customers experience”

To further enable large scale growth, it became apparent that the GSMA needed more reach and coverage as well as reseller partners with a strong local presence in order to better serve the ever-widening range of enterprise customers. Companies such as Boku, Payfone, Zumigo and several others have joined ranks to ensure enterprise customers are supported by identity experts with in-depth knowledge of their business requirements and systems, and the ability to design and integrate solutions into their business.

Chirag Bakshi, CEO Zumigo Inc. says  “Consumers are using their Mobile phones to conduct their daily online activity whether it is accessing their bank accounts, making travel plans or purchasing from their favourite merchants. Mobile Connect helps put a security layer on their activity by authenticating the mobile phone seamlessly with zero friction and yet works across mobile operators giving secure digital access to millions of underserved users from rural towns & villages. We are thrilled to be enabling this ecosystem for our customers with an easy integration into our systems.”

Commercial Success

Growing commercial adoption and the increasing ranks of reseller partners have demonstrated the demand for operator-led identity services.  Collaboration between mobile operators to offer a federated solution, backed by seamless customer experience, and its proven ability to reduce fraud and log-in-failure, has helped drive steady growth of Mobile Connect which is delivering steadily over 3 million transactions per month to date.

The logical next step to unlock the full potential of Mobile Connect is through continued product and technology innovation, automating business processes, and strengthening local operations. Moving beyond authentication, the objective is to meet the demand for operator identity attributes, such as SIM swap information or customer age on the network, through the development of new identity services.

The GSMA looked for a partner who could augment the existing scheme in India and then replicate it in other markets. One key requisite is that of a technical enablement layer which exposes a standard federated solution to the market, ensuring continuity with the current service capability. The partnership will bring major benefits to the Indian identity ecosystem, including increased speed to market, more robust business processes and a local, scalable support model.

Building a collaborative partnership with Infobip

Infobip is a global cloud communications platform that enables businesses to build connected customer experiences across all stages of the customer journey at scale. They serve and partner with some of the world’s leading enterprises, tech vendors and mobile operators. With 65+ offices on all continents, over 2500 employees and a 600-strong in-house development team, Infobip process over 7 billion A2P messages a month.

Infobip were selected due to their expertise, flexible technology and global experience in working with mobile operators. Infobip demonstrated a genuine willingness to enable the identity ecosystem and work actively with other partners in order to drive sustainable growth for the entire value chain. The partnership is non-exclusive, leaving the door open for further partnerships in other regions.

Infobip will make their enablement platform – Mobile Identity – available to mobile operators who wish to jointly launch a unified identity proposition in their market, with no upfront investment. The GSMA will continue to enable the mobile operator collaboration that delivers a federated product roadmap and to support the operators in navigating the regulatory and privacy considerations attached to identity services. This collaborative approach lowers the barrier to entry for mobile operators and accelerates potential revenue growth while offering enhanced, more secure services for consumers.

Channel partners and aggregators can expect significant operational efficiencies from being able to integrate and contract with Infobip to access attributes from mobile operator networks, in an open, pro-competitive and equal access basis. Recognising the crucial role these companies play in growing the market at speed and enabling services across varied verticals, this initiative intends to partner with them to share clear guidance on product roadmap and availability, and receive input into future development.

Meanwhile, mobile operators looking to deploy identity capabilities into this enablement layer can rely on an impressive roster of technology vendors who have developed infrastructure products, such as authenticators and identity gateways.

As the Indian market continues to grow, the partnership will be exploring other opportunities where operators are interested in collaborating to bring new identity attribute services to market.

Find out more about the GSMA’s work with the Identity ecosystem here.

For queries from prospective customers and partners, please contact [email protected].

1Six leading operators in 2016 have since become two major market stakeholders through mergers and acquisitions in the intervening years.