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Mobile ID Services Expected To Enrich Mobile Operators 08/13/2019

by Gavin O'Malley @mp_gavin , Yesterday

The use of unique mobile identifier services will put more than $7 billion into the pockets of mobile operators in 2024, according to a new estimate from Juniper Research.

If accurate, that would represent a more than 800% bump in services that provide identity verification through SIMs from $859 million in expected spending this year.

Much of the growth will occur in emerging economies with limited government identity provisions, according to the research firm.

In these markets, mobile phones are expected to become the primary source of identity for more than 3 billion people by 2024.

Particularly in Southeast Asia and Africa, mobile identifier services are expected to be used more heavily. They are simpler to scale than card-based identity, and preexisting government-issued identities are less common.

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

These third parties are more likely to monetize API calls from identity requesters, which will cut operators out of this space -- although the latter could potentially leverage their position in the future to gain further revenue -- per Juniper.

Smartphone vendors are also expected to capitalize on digital identity via the production of devices with advanced functionalities, including biometric identity capabilities.

Worldwide, Juniper expects over 5 billion smartphones globally to have some form of biometric by 2024, which will represent nearly 90% of all smartphones by then. However, several services will still need traditional documentation to onboard users initially.

As a result, the firm is forecasting that traditional forms of identification will not be entirely displaced by mobile forms in the near future.

“Service onboarding is still an opportunity for fraud, despite advances in biometric technology,” research author James Moar notes in the new report. “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,” Moar predicts.