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$7 billion opportunity for operators to become ‘ID brokers’ in emerging markets


By 2024, mobile digital identity could be worth $7 billion (€6.25 billion) as operators become ID brokers, up from $859 million (€740 million) expected in 2019. This represents growth of over 800 per cent.

According to Juniper’s Digital Identity: Technology Evolution, Regulatory Analysis & Forecasts 2019-2024 report, it noted that unique mobile identifier services, which provide identity verification through SIMs, could become the primary source of identity for over three billion people by 2024, especially in emerging economies with limited government identity provision.

It is anticipated that almost 40 per cent of people globally will have mobile digital identity documents by 2024.These services are simpler to scale than card-based identity and are expected to be particularly popular in areas of Southeast Asia and Africa, where pre-existing government-issued identities are less common.


Juniper Research predicts that other digital players will provide apps on top of this framework, with over 600 million discrete third-party identity apps using the operator-provided functions.

These third-parties will typically monetise API calls from identity requestors, cutting operators out of this space. However, Juniper noted that operators could potentially leverage their position in the future to gain further revenue.

Smartphone vendors are also expected to capitalise on digital identity via the production of devices with advanced functionality, including biometric identity capabilities. Juniper Research forecasts that over five billion smartphones (globally 99% off all smartphones) will have some form of biometric technology by 2024.

Existing forms of identification will not be entirely displaced by mobile forms in the near future, though, the report finds — several services will still need traditional documentation to onboard users initially.

The author of the research, James Moar, said, “Service onboarding is still an opportunity for fraud, despite advances in biometric technology. Many services require a tie back to an existing form of ID, which typically means analogue identification. As a result, facial recognition will become key as it can bridge the digital-physical gap more easily than other biometrics.”

Several operators are now moving into the mobile ID space. Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica Deutschland and Vodafone Deutschland launched Mobile Connect, a mobile-based login procedure which offers a quick but more secure way for customers to log into digital services. Orange already offers the service, along with 70 network operators in around 40 countries.

In a recent interview with Mobile Europe, Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Deputy CEO, Technology and Global Innovation at Orange, described how mobile identity is a key opportunity for Orange. “The multi-service operator is the true telco,” she said, saying she envisions Orange’s future as a ‘smart life’ provider.“We all have digital identities,” she explained. “Facebook can be one, but I hope that the operator identity will also be a key one. If I want to enter into a relationship with my customers, I need to have an identity and a way of sharing things.”


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