The first 2 days in the largest mobile technology event in the world. From Keith Uber and Petteri Ihalainen

Keith: Signing in to the Mobile World Congress web service using Mobile Connect

Since last year, GSMA had really adopted the “eat your own dog food” or should we say “drink your own champagne”, by implementing Mobile Connect across their own services. It started with the Developer Portal ( , spread to the InfoCentre2 ( main portal for all GSMA members and is used in other education and eLearning platforms used by the global organization.

It was great to see Mobile Connect available as a sign in method for the registration process in MWC and as a way to sign in to the mobile app, which is used as a digital badge for participants entering the venue. With such a diverse audience at the event, delegates from all across the globe, the ability to sign in with a common technique was a pleasure to see. For some who are from markets that have already rolled out services, this was a familiar process – for others, it was a first taste of the value of Mobile Connect. No more passwords!

Day 1

Keith: Besides the interesting seminars and various meetings, one of my favourite parts of the conference is Innovation City. Innovation City is the GSMA’s venue for demonstrating the latest innovations in the market in an interactive and very visual way. In Hall 4, there was a wide range of use cases on display to visitors.

I was invited to try a Mobile Connect integration to a beverage vending machine, a demonstration of NSTIC pilot projects running currently in the USA. I approved the purchase with Mobile Connect, could pick any drink in the machine and was rewarded with a soft drink size container with a Mobile Connect chocolate bar inside.

On first look, the use case seems to be about a payment transaction, but in the real world implementation you could imagine how identity applies to an otherwise mundane object. Recording of preference information – remembering what I ordered last time – could make the time between me and a nice cold drink as short as possible. I could quickly imagine other authorization cases such as permitting the use of proximity detection to even further streamline the process, giving consent to cooperation with third-party brands for marketing rewards, etc. Imagine when located in a high-traffic public place with an international audience, such as an airport, where every user uses their own operator to sign in. Behind the scenes, the network knows that the user is actually located in the same location as the vending machine, giving further attribute information to detect and minimise fraudulent use. I look forward to seeing this use case have wider use.

Petteri: In the morning when we turned the TV on and started to watch the MWC TV-channel that they create each time so that all of Barcelona can see what’s happening, we saw that Mobile Connect is very aggressively promoted to the viewers. Especially the Innovation City and the demos and user reviews were prominent. A good start for the congress.

Once we reached the Fira, where MWC is held, the amount of people again surprised us. The huge area of 8 halls were packed. The first seminar in the morning talked about the progress of Mobile Connect – now over 3 billion enabled subscribers. The speech from SK Telecom was a treat. In South Korea, they already have over 26 000 online services using Mobile Connect from World of Warcraft to government services and over 12 million active users.

The rest of the day was spent in meetings with partners and ended in the heart of Barcelona in a partner event held in an old church built in 1440. It was time to go to bed.

Day 2

Petteri: It was an early start. I had been invited to participate in a roundtable discussion about co-operation between eIDAS and Mobile Connect. At the discussion the leaders from EU Commission, UK Cabinet Office, Mobile Network Operators and technology vendors (that’s us) laid out the initial plans on how we can enable convenient, eIDAS compatible cross-border authentication and identity services for EU Citizens. It was really great to see such enthusiasm from e.g. the EU leadership.

During the day we met customers, new and old, and participated in a seminar examining how Mobile Connect could be a perfect answer to the PSD2 requirements for strong authentication. The EBA technical guidelines are now out and within a short period of time financial institutions have to comply to the new requirements. It seems that both GDPR and PSD2 are driving companies to adopt new technologies such as Identity and Access Management to help them comply to the new regulations and directives.

The day ended with lots of fish together with our partner MePIN and our customer from Canada, EnStream.

Keith: My main takeaway from today was a seminar on “Mobile Connect: The evolving landscape for high security authentication” which covered topics such as PSD2 (Payment Services Directive 2), biometrics and blockchain. GSMA’s Janne Jutila (twitter @JJ_TILA) opened the event with a quick reminder of the Mobile Connect market need, programme goals and current roll out status. He emphasized the momentum that has been developed and hinted at the continued development of the ecosystem.

Later, Marcus Dormanns from the GSMA laid out how what we know as Mobile Connect consists of a wide range of technical building blocks that can be combined to solve use cases. He presented both the market needs and solutions around age verification, number verification and KYC (Know your customer) as authorization use cases – important for gathering consent under GDPR or approving financial transactions in PSD2.

Other industry experts, including government, operator and payment service provider representatives discussed different high-security use cases. All in all, the message was clear – a clear market need for strong authentication offered by Mobile Connect.