Singapore telcos to support GSMA authentication standard

Country's three mobile operators--M1, Singtel, and StarHub--will adopt the Mobile Connect global standard that will enable their users to access online services with their mobile number.

Source: GSMA

Singapore's three mobile operators have announced plans to support a global authentication standard that will allow their customers to access online services with their mobile number.

In a joint statement released Tuesday, M1, StarHub, and Singtel said they would adopt the GSMA authentication standard, Mobile Connect, which would create a single digital user identity. This would enable their mobile customers to access supporting services including banking, e-commerce, and travel, without having to remember multiple usernames and passwords.

Mobile Connect was built on open source technology, OpenID Connect, which itself was built on top of an identify framework standard--OAuth 2.0--supported by the Internet Engineering Task Force. The two standards were designed to boost access control and data security. OpenID Connect members included Microsoft, Google, and PayPal.

Mobile Connect works by matching users to their mobile phone, so they will be able to log into websites and apps securely without the need for passwords. The GSMA standard currently is supported in 22 countries.

The three Singapore operators said they would deploy a single, unified platform to better support integration with online service providers through a Mobile Connect API (application programming interface). They added that the first set of supported online services would be unveiled in the second half of 2017.

Citing stats from the GSMA, the telcos said consumers often were put off by the inconvenience of registering for services, with 87 percent abandoning websites when asked to register. They also struggled to remember the deluge of usernames and passwords to access these services. In fact, 40 percent would use the "forget password" function on a monthly basis.

Another 83 percent of mobile users were concerned about sharing personal data when accessing the internet and apps, according to GSMA.

"Mobile Connect will free customers from having to manage multiple usernames and passwords for every online account," the telcos said. They explained that users would be able to confirm their identity using their mobile number, coupled with a unique personal code for online transactions that required higher security.

The Singapore operators also urged more service providers to support Mobile Connect logins, pointing to opportunities of addressing customer frustration and abandoned transactions by offering simpler sign-ups.