Rainer Knirsch


Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Vodafone agree to introduce Mobile Connect – a convenient, secure system for user login via mobile phone number

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  • Easy, convenient login, and protection against password theft
  • Improved user experience with Internet portals and digital services
  • The Verimi identity and data platform plans to integrate Mobile Connect – and the resulting cooperation will provide greater user security and control of personal data
Single Sign-On

With Mobile Connect, customers of the three network operators will soon need only their mobile phone and its number in order to log in to digital services and website.

Things digital are about to become considerably easier and more secure for mobile subscribers in Germany. Today, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica Deutschland and Vodafone Deutschland agreed to offer their customers the GSMA Mobile Connect service, via which users can access their online accounts conveniently and securely, without having to enter user names and passwords. The mobile-network operators plan to introduce the GSMA service, which is in service worldwide, this year. The Verimi identity and data platform will be the first major technology platform partner in Germany to also offer the Mobile Connect service. With Mobile Connect, a user's personal mobile phone number can be used for secure, unambiguous authentication and login for purchases in online stores, for registration with Internet portals and – soon – for online bureaucratic "paperwork."

To authenticate themselves for online services and accounts, users normally have to enter a user name and password. In addition to being inconvenient, such authentication can also entail risks. Many people use many different platforms and often use the same password for different sites. Many use easy-to-remember passwords such as qwerty or 123456, and many never change their passwords. Such habits make users easy targets for criminal hackers.
"By offering Mobile Connect, mobile network operators are taking an important step in the area of digital identification, and are giving users greater control over their own data. With the service, users, businesses and government agencies can interact conveniently in private and trustworthy environments," explains Alex Sinclair, CTO, GSMA. "The introduction of Mobile Connect in Germany will spur global growth of this authentication solution. Today, Mobile Connect is already being used in more than 30 countries worldwide."

More security in online shopping

With Mobile Connect, customers of the three network operators will soon need only their mobile phone and its number in order to log in to digital services and websites. In each case, the network operator, which can always unambiguously correlate a user's mobile number with the user's identity, assumes responsibility for authenticating the user to the service provider or website. The user's login does not require a password. This makes the login process both simpler and more secure.

Dirk Backofen, head of Telekom Security, explains that "Password theft is now occurring on an enormous scale. With Mobile Connect and Verimi, we will be able to offer greater security and convenience in cyberspace. At the same time, we will ensure that our customers' digital identities stay within the EU's judicial area and enjoy the full degree of security provided by German data privacy laws."

Pia von Houwald, Director B2P Digital Processes and Services at Telefónica Deutschland: "Mobile Connect makes digital living simpler and more secure for everyone, including customers, providers of digital services and mobile-network operators. With this arrangement, the three network operators have agreed to adopt a universal specification, and this is a major step forward. In addition, by introducing Mobile Connect, Telefónica Deutschland is highlighting its intent to offer its customers greater mobile freedom.“

"By offering Mobile Connect, we are offering our customers the most-secure procedure currently available for user authentication and for managing digital purchase processes. By eliminating the need for passwords, it eliminates a key risk factor – easy-to-guess passwords," adds Michael Reinartz, Director of Strategy and Innovation at Vodafone Deutschland. "Mobile Connect is enormously flexible, and soon it will facilitate completely new application scenarios for reliable authentication – for example, for user authentication on eGovernment portals and in eCommerce shops."

Here's how it works

Starting this year, mobile customers in Germany will be able to log in to many online portals without entering a Google or Facebook password. Upon reaching a login page – such as that of Verimi – the user initiates the login process by entering his or her mobile number. A text message (SMS) is then sent to his or her mobile phone. The text message contains a link via which the user, on his mobile device, confirms receipt of the message and allows the network operator to transmit an encrypted, pseudonymized customer reference number to the portal/service operator. This number authenticates the customer to the portal/service operator, and the customer receives access, without having to enter a password.

The user has full control over his/her personal data

In the medium term, Mobile Connect will offer customers an additional service. They will be able to shop online without having to manually enter data such as their shipping address and bank account. Mobile Connect users will be able to provide that information to their network operators, in advance, and then transmit it, with a single click, into online shops' order forms. In each case, the user has to explicitly approve the transfer of such data – and thus always retains full control over his/her personal data.

Significant advantages for providers

Mobile Connect offers significant advantages for providers of digital content and for operators of online portals and shops. Users often terminate online purchase processes early, without completing them, when they find themselves being requested to enter an e-mail address and a password. The inconvenience of completing order forms also prompts many would-be purchasers to drop out of purchase processes. Mobile Connect helps customers quickly complete their transactions, and it provides optimal customer experiences throughout the entire ordering process. In sum, it leads to higher rates of completed transactions, thereby boosting revenue, and it reduces the risks of fraud.

Verimi to integrate Mobile Connect

Verimi, a cross-sector identity and data platform founded in 2017, will be the mobile network operators' first major technology platform partner for Mobile Connect in Germany. A number of leading German and European companies have stakes in Verimi, including Allianz, Axel Springer, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telekom and Lufthansa. Verimi plans to launch its platform this spring, and to integrate Mobile Connect within its service as an authentication option. Mobile Connect will thus have a strong partner in Germany right from the outset.
Donata Hopfen, Verimi CEO: "Verimi is an open, cross-sector platform. Because we partner with a large and diverse array of companies, and plan to offer a wide range of different application scenarios, we are the perfect partner for Mobile Connect. Mobile Connect's mobile-number-based authentication process is an attractive feature for Verimi users. We think very highly of this process, and thus we wish to integrate Mobile Connect within our platform. In doing so, we will be able to establish a de-facto standard in Germany."

Outlook: New opportunities for secure transactions and eGovernment

Soon, users will be able to use Mobile Connect for all types of sensitive digital monetary transactions. Mobile Connect can incorporate additional layers of security for such transactions, such as use of biometric data and TAN numbers. The new standard for authentication will also be suitable for online bureaucratic "paperwork." For example, users will be able to apply for new personal identity cards via their mobile devices, without ever having to stand in line at a citizens' office.

Press contacts Deutsche Telekom AG
Dr. Rainer Knirsch (press spokesperson)
Tel: +49 (0)30 835 382 346 (Büro/Office)

Telefónica Germany GmbH & Co. OHG
Guido Heitmann (Head of Corporate Communications)
Tel: +49 (0)211 448 3204

Vodafone Deutschland
Thorsten Georg Höpken (press spokesperson, private customers)
Tel: +49 (0)211 533 5597

About Deutsche Telekom: Deutsche Telekom Company profile

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