Spain’s leading mobile operators Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone today announced the launch of two new services designed to help developers tackle online fraud and protect the digital identities of mobile customers.
As part of the global GSMA Open Gateway initiative, the operators have announced the launch of two network API (Application Programmable Interface) services focused on improving digital security: Number Verification and SIM Swap. These APIs will allow developer teams and partners to create new intelligent layers of customer authentication, verification, and security within mobile phone networks. This will help businesses, such as financial institutions and online retailers, tackle identity fraud by enhancing user authentication and improving security.
These new services will be available at Mobile World Congress (MWC) held in Barcelona, Spain, from 26-29 February.
The latest figures from Spain’s Interior Minister show that reported cases of cybercrime increased by 72% in 2022 compared to 2019, with almost 90% of them being related to online fraud. Cybercrime now accounts for around a fifth of all offences registered in the country.
Launched one year ago at MWC Barcelona, the GSMA Open Gateway initiative represents a paradigm shift in the way the global telecoms industry designs and brings to market new mobile apps, and immersive and digital services. The new Number Verification and SIM Swap services will also make online authentication simpler and faster for online customers, as mobile applications, cloud services and connectivity networks will all be accessible through the APIs.
GSMA Open Gateway is a common and open framework between operators to make it easier for developers and cloud providers to build safer apps and services that seamlessly communicate with each other. This is done through single, programmable, access points to mobile networks known as APIs. From Argentina to China, the USA to Australia, 42 mobile operator groups worldwide, representing 237 mobile networks and 65% of global connections are already part of the initiative.
The two online verification and anti-fraud APIs to be introduced by Spanish operators are:
- Number Verification: Is to be used to verify a user’s mobile number by providing the next generation of strong authentication and user experience. It is a simple evolution path for any business that uses mobile numbers and SMS One-Time-Passwords. Instead of relying on SMS, Number Verification can be seamlessly and automatically activated to verify a user’s identity. This not only enhances the user experience but also mitigates potential issues, such as users not receiving an SMS or facing difficulties due to limited familiarity with technology.
- SIM Swap: Is to be used to check whether a given phone number has recently changed SIM cards. This helps mitigate account takeover attacks, in which fraudsters take control of the account owner’s SIM card using social engineering techniques and stolen personal data. For example, at the time of a financial transaction, a financial institution can check whether the relationship between the customer’s phone number and SIM Card has been recently changed, helping them decide whether to approve the transaction or not.
Juan Reyero Montes, Enterprise Marketing Director, Orange Spain, commented, “the launch of these two new APIs onto the Spanish market, addressing key use cases around fraud, aptly demonstrates the value that Orange and our partner operators can bring, utilising our network capabilities to improve the security of transactions whilst enhancing the user experience for customers through seamless authentication.
“Furthermore, this represents an important step for Orange on the path to delivering on the promise of Open Gateway, of simple, developer-friendly APIs with an initial commercial availability at this scale. Orange has been an early supporter and contributor to CAMARA and Open Gateway. Developers can engage with Orange and test all new APIs via the Orange Developer portal to explore new use cases leveraging network capabilities and bringing innovation towards the end user.”
Javier Pascual Izquierdo, B2B Marketing, Presales and Deployment Director at Telefonica de España said: “Open Gateway is a major innovation in the telecommunications sector, that enables the transformation of communication networks into programmable digital platforms through global and standardized APIs. Operators want to create an increasingly safe and secure environment that benefits the whole of Spanish society, from startups to large companies. Telefónica is confident that Open Gateway will be an essential tool for the digital revolution, and that it will have particular potential for identity validation and fraud prevention.”
Johanna Wood, Head of Developer Strategy at Vodafone Group, said: “Developers play a key part in the acceleration of innovative digital services within a scaled ecosystem between network operators and enterprises. Vodafone is excited to be part of the Open Gateway initiative, which is a significant step forward in making these services more accessible through the promotion of open standards in the developer community.”
Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, said: “It is fantastic to see the Spanish mobile industry unite behind the Open Gateway initiative to help enterprises and developers deliver better digital experiences over 5G networks. Alongside the benefits this offers for Spanish customers, society and the economy, this initiative also gives Spanish businesses the opportunity to extend digital services to other mobile markets around the world.”
The Spanish mobile industry expects today’s announcement to accelerate the growth of digital services and apps, by ensuring they integrate seamlessly with national mobile networks, as well as hundreds of others around the world. As part of the GSMA Open Gateway initiative, these APIs will be locally and globally federated, meaning that as well as Spain’s mobile customers, developers can also reach new customers outside of Spain as the initiative grows. Through the global initiative, businesses and developers can also access new markets with their services, allowing them to achieve new revenues by marketing them across the world.Spain’s GSMA Open Gateway ecosystem is set for enhancement in 2024, with partners such as Microsoft, Vonage and Infobip making the first CAMARA APIs available later this year. GSMA Open Gateway APIs are defined, developed, and published in CAMARA, the open-source project for developers to access enhanced network capabilities, driven by the Linux Foundation, in partnership with TM Forum.