News Flash: $7 Billion Opportunity in Digital Identity for Operators by 2024 as World Turns to Mobile

Fresh research shows that growth in mobile digital identity solutions could exceed 800% over the next five years, as emerging economies turn to mobile by default.  The paper from Juniper Research, ‘Digital Identity: Technology Evolution, Regulatory Analysis & Forecasts 2019-2024’, finds that unique mobile identifier services are likely to become the primary source of identification for over 3 billion people by 2024 – meaning operators will increasingly become the “brokers of identity”.

This rapid growth is attributed in part to the fact that mobile identity solutions are easier to scale than card-based identity systems, and more attractive to private-sector participation.  The report projects that nearly 40% of people worldwide will use identity documents via mobile devices – with particularly strong adoption seen in mobile-first Southeast Asia, and in Africa, where pre-existing state-issued identity systems are less common.

There is a note of warning for the mobile industry, however. The research anticipates considerable third-party exploitation of the framework created by operators, as other digital players provide apps using operator-provided functions: it’s thought as many as 600 million such discrete third-party apps could monetise APIs from service providers requesting identity verification, cutting into operators’ market share. If operators successfully leverage their existing position of strength however, Juniper Research believes, they will be able to ensure very strong revenue growth in this space: digital identity is forecast to generate over $7 billion for operators in 2024, up from an expected $859 million in 2019.

Recent days have proved significant for digital identity in the mobile industry, in spite of the usual August lull.  Earlier this week Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica Deutschland and Vodafone Deutschland launched Mobile Connect, the mobile industry’s collaborative digital identity solution which enables users to make payments and log into digital services quickly and securely by matching them with their mobile device.  This brings the total offering Mobile Connect above 70 operators across 40 countries – and with commercial incentives like those emerging through Juniper’s research, we can expect this number to rise steadily over the coming years.

For more on this story, please see the Mobile Europe piece here.