Competition in telco authentication heats up with SecureKey, Oberthur deal

Identity and authentication service provider SecureKey has announced a collaboration with Oberthur Technologies, which delivers SIMs and SIM-based software to drive further competition in the mobile identity service market. The agreement will enable SecureKey to extend its authentication capabilities to support SIM-based secure elements.

SecureKey’s operates the Connect platform, which is a cloud-based multi-factor authentication tool that enables the online authentication of consumers by linking their identities to trusted devices, including mobile devices and PCs. Oberthur specialises in the creation of digital security solutions such as smart cards and contactless technologies within mobile devices, as well as delivering SIMs to mobile operators.

According to Adaora Okeleke, a Telco IT analyst with Ovum, the collaboration delivers benefits to both parties, allowing SecureKey to extend the types of secure elements that its Connect service can support, specifically in this case by embedding the SDK for the Connect service into the applets running on SIMs provided by Oberthur, the SIM could become the secure element for transactions.

The secure element supports the creation and storage of cryptographic keys as well as the device ID that uniquely identifies the user’s device. SecureKey’s Connect platform, is seen as providing next-generation cryptographic capability.

Okeleke said that the vendor landscape for the delivery of mobile identity services is wide, ranging from providers of the systems that generate mobile identities to mobile identity creation, authentication, and identity management solution providers. And telcos are keen to leverage the direct connectivity they have with their customers’ SIMs to bring these mobile identity services to market.

“Mobile identity solution providers need to ensure that they are able to cover a broader scope of this landscape. SecureKey and OT understand this need and have decided to work together to provide mobile identity solutions that support a wide variety of platforms,” she said.

“With both companies working together, they can build a solution that enables them to compete favourably with providers such as Gemalto, which have both a SIM card portfolio and a mobile identity and authentication suite.”

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