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Mobile IDs: Why MNOs Are The Key to Securing Digital Identities

By using mobile ID, customers can make purchases, request financial assistance, access online accounts & verify their identity from smartphones. Learn here!
May 17, 2024

Mobile connectivity is driving change and digital transformation across all industries. On top of powering now indispensable digital services like mobile banking, shopping, online transactions and travel services, mobile connectivity also has the ability to extend financial services to unbanked individuals in developing or more rural communities. 

However, the challenge doesn’t simply end with access to a smartphone. Being able to perform these tasks remotely from a mobile device necessitates the need for a means of swiftly and simply verifying people’s identity to prevent fraud from happening. 

Digital ID systems that function from mobile devices are the ideal solution. By using mobile ID, customers can make purchases, request financial assistance, access online accounts and verify their identity all from their smartphones. 

Building a successful digital identity framework relies on easy access to reliable customer data. By harnessing their experience in managing and protecting consumer data, MNOs have the potential to be key players in facilitating the widespread adoption of mobile IDs. 

What Benefits Do Mobile IDs Offer?

1. Improved identification and control measures

Traditionally, conventional methods of ID verification have relied on human judgement, which leaves the door wide open for error and oversight. 

Front-line workers required to ID individuals may lack the tools, training, skill sets and experience required to reliably identify counterfeit, doctored or stolen documents. The use of a reliable digital lending ID system can reduce the risk of human error in identifying and verifying the identity of an individual.

2. Elevated customer experiences and reduced costs

Mobile IDs can also provide user-friendly experiences for prospective customers at the onboarding stage and during the entire customer life cycle. 

Customer consent and satisfaction are important drivers in completing applications and transactions which can lead to customer retention. 

A lean and accurate verification process for customers, combined with potential efficiency gains for regulated entities, can help lower on-boarding costs drastically.

3. Better Transaction Monitoring

Digital authentication of customers through mobile-based identification may help in identifying and reporting suspicious transactions. Mobile IDs help businesses establish that the individual attempting to access the account is the verified account holder. 

4. Financial Inclusion

Technological advancements in the financial services sector have raised questions about financial inclusivity, particularly to individuals and communities who have limited access to these services. 

The development of mobile-based ID systems would enable people in developing economies to obtain an identity record (often for the first time) to open a bank account, apply for a loan, or start a credit score. 

Why Are MNOs Uniquely Positioned to Help Develop Mobile IDs?

For a mobile ID framework to succeed, it needs to be available to as many people as possible. Collectively, MNOs can reach the vast majority of the world’s population. With many network operators servicing more customers than large tech companies, MNOs’ reach spans across countries and continents. 

MNOs don’t only have records of customer data, but also real-time access to device data and network information. By tracking device location data, roaming status, billing status, SIM usage and so on, MNOs can play a primary role in identifying and flagging suspicious activity. 

By leveraging their data access to identify and verify customers through mobile ID systems, MNOs can work to reduce identity theft and fraud not only for themselves but also for banks, service providers and regulatory bodies. 

Globally, mobile technology connects more than five billion people, making it a platform with unmatched reach. Mobile operators deal with consumers directly and safeguard their data, building trust by often going beyond what local privacy and data protection laws require. 


It’s clear to see that MNOs are primed to become key facilitators in the development and adoption of digitally-driven identification networks. By leveraging their extended reach and extensive customer data system, MNOs could play a significant role in developing mobile ID networks, like:

  • Partnering with governments to assist in enrolling residents in new digital identity networks.
  • Validating existing identity data against national or government databases. 
  • Enabling existing and new customers to create their own digital profiles linking to their cellphone number to access online services.
  • Assisting with digitalising physical, legacy ID systems. 

Airvantage is one of the largest service providers to MNOs across Africa. Specialising in advanced airtime lending, data provision, mobile money lending, as well as other services, we’re dedicated to assisting MNOs in transforming their services and capabilities for customers. 

If you’re ready to find out how Airvantage can transform your services, contact us.

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