Digital identities:O2 Telefónica, Telekom and Vodafone in EU field test

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The European consortium "POTENTIAL" is responsible for testing EU digital identity wallets in 19 countries on behalf of the EU.
The Internet should get safer for all EU citizens. Just like its digital applications. On this end, the European Union is driving forward the development of digital identities. They are the key to digitization and further integration of Europe. Now, the Union has launched a major field trial across the EU. The aim of the project is to further develop digital ID functions and standardize them across the EU in order to provide citizens with a secure digital identity. Mobile operators O2 Telefónica, Telekom and Vodafone are partners of the EU in the trial. They are testing the identities right when SIM cards are activated. Whether shopping on the web or using citizen and healthcare services: There are various ways to identify oneself online. However, the methods used till date have been criticized for being often insecure or time-consuming. This is why the EU has adopted a new technical framework for secure digital identities. The basis for this is the eIDAS regulation adopted two weeks ago. The European Union is therefore now testing new ID wallets in large-scale field tests.
  • EU field tests trial digital identities by end of 2024
  • French-German-led consortium POTENTIAL responsible for pilot projects
  • Digital identity to activate mobile phone contract and securely unlock SIM card
  • Mobile operators begin test in Germany, France, Austria, Poland, Netherlands, Greece and Ukraine
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says: "Every time a website asks us to create a new digital identity or conveniently log in via a major platform, we actually have no idea what is happening with our data. This is why the Commission will soon propose a secure European digital identity. One that we trust, and that citizens everywhere in Europe can use to do everything from pay taxes to rent a bike. A technology where we ourselves can control what data is used and how."
Valentina Daiber
Valentina Daiber, Chief Officer Legal & Corporate Affairs and Member of the Management Board of O2 Telefónica says: "EU citizens appreciate the benefits and reliability of digital communication networks. Whether wallet, banking or mails - every day, many people use their smartphone as a matter of course. It is therefore only logical to add another important facet to life in the digital cosmos with the digital identity on the smartphone. Among other things, digital identity speeds up interaction between public authorities and citizens, making the smartphone an even more important companion in everyday life."
Credits: Deutsche Telekom
Adel Al-Saleh
T-Systems CEO and member of the Board of Management of Deutsche Telekom AG Adel Al-Saleh says: "Secure digital identities are a quantum leap for everything we do on the Internet. If you identify yourself uniquely on the Internet, you create trust. Almost all areas of life benefit from this. At the same time, we are clearing our daily jungle of usernames and passwords. That's why we are involved in the European Union's field tests."
Credits: Vodafone Deutschland
Michael Jungwirth
Michael Jungwirth, Director Public Policy & External Affairs and Member of the Executive Board at Vodafone Germany, says: "Digitization must be secure and simple. And it must not end at national borders. That also applies to the online ID function. After all, a digital identity brings real added value when people use it. And they do so when they can trust the application and it is easy to use. This is what we are supporting with our participation in the EU project 'POTENTIAL'. So that digitization becomes accessible everywhere and for everyone. Whether at home, on vacation or on business trips."

Field tests for mobile communications, driver's licenses, bank accounts or e-prescriptions

The European consortium "POTENTIAL" is the largest of four consortia for the EU field tests. "POTENTIAL" is responsible for testing EU digital identity wallets in 19 countries on behalf of the EU. The consortium partners are testing digital identities for opening bank accounts, digital driver's licenses or renting a rental car. Online citizen services and qualified electronic signatures are also being tested.

EU mobile project with Ukraine

Among other things, the mobile operators want to show how mobile contracts and SIM cards with digital identities can be activated easily and securely across countries. At the same time, they want to further curb attempts at fraud with digital identities. The new technology is also intended to be data-saving for customers in the future in accordance with DSVGO requirements. It should only use the data that is necessary for the respective application. The mobile operator tests are taking place in various European countries. In addition to Germany, Austria, France, Poland, Greece and the Netherlands are among the countries taking part. Ukraine is also taking part.