GSMA: One password for all mobile online accounts


SIM-based ‘Mobile Connect’ means not having to remember lots of different codes

The GSMA is trialling a new SIM-based technology which removes the need for multiple usernames and passwords when accessing digital services such as mobile banking on a mobile phone.

News of the Mobile Connect initiative, which is taking place in a number of countries with several operators as partners including Orange, Telefonica, China Mobile and Telenor who were the first to launch.

Instead of having to remember “hundreds” of different passwords and user names, mobile customers will instead be required to enter their mobile phone number followed by a PIN.

The technology for Mobile Connect will be stored on the SIM only and not online or through the network operator. The technology, will be available for use on all devices (smartphones, feature phones, tablets), and can run on 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

The GSMA will enhance and simplify online privacy, it said.

Digital world

Orange chief executive and chairman Stephane Richard (pictured right) commented: “Mobile Connect is a very good example of a simple, free, secure and universal service to make customers’ lives easier.

“Everyone knows in the digital world as it is today, there are a lot of dangers and opportunities to try and steal personal data.

“It can be a headache when using a lot of different online services, which usually begins with entering a different password and login for each account. You can either use the same password and login for everything – which is risky – or try to remember the information or write it down.

“Either way, you are at risk as your login details transits all the time through the networks and this is done most of the time without any encryption, making it very easy to intercept and puts you at a high risk.

“The solution is Mobile Connect, which is free, largely secure as it’s on the SIM card, and universal. It’s as simple as remembering your phone number and PIN number. The pin code is chosen and known exclusively by the user. It is not on the network, only in the user’s mind.

“We believe this is definitely the most secure way to authenticate service users.

“Mobile operators are ideally placed to provide the necessary authentication capabilities to enable consumers, businesses and governments alike to interact and access services in a private, trusted and secure environment.”

Great benefits

Anne Bouverot (pictured left), director general of the GSMA, added: “This digital life brings great benefits to consumers, but also introduces new concerns over the security of online identities.”

SIM distributor Gemalto, which distributes around six billion SIM cards a year globally, has backed the plans and is offering to include the application to operators for free.

The firm’s chief executive Olivier Piou said: “We have decided to embed the technology in all the SIM cards, once certified, we supply at no extra cost. We believe it’s important it’s free and simple. We fully support this initiative and believe it will make a visible difference to the consumer.”