Major US carriers unveil cryptographically verified phone number authentication for apps

The big four wireless carriers in the United States—Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint—announced Thursday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain an interesting plan for a new authentication system in apps based on mobile phone numbers.

The Mobile Authentication Taskforce, comprised of the aforesaid companies, claims that its new mobile authentication platform should help fight fraud and identity theft by providing a cryptographically verified phone number and profile data for customers using supported apps.

Registered developers will be able to submit applications via a blockchain-based system.

The carriers want “the full power of collective network intelligence in the hands of consumers and businesses to help safeguard online and wireless experiences,” as per the release.

To help assess risk and protect customer privacy, the system will analyze how long a phone number has been held, its account type, IP address and SIM card details, as well as take advantage of advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities.

The new authentication platform should launch commercially later in 2018, with internal trials schedule to start in the next few weeks. The taskforce vision includes interoperability with GSMA’s Mobile Connect technology.