Consumers are still reluctant to trust the Internet, whether wired or mobile, with their personal details. Initiatives like this can only increase willingness to use mCommerce applications, which will be good news for the mobile operators.
Mobile phones are getting faster and cleverer, and mCommerce is becoming a reality. But as with the wired world, issues persist over security. Users increasingly worry that purchases made from, and data sent to and from their mobile phones and PDAs will be intercepted by a hostile third party.
Drawn to the market for "peace of mind" solutions are the encryption and PKI (public key infrastructure) specialists including market leaders Entrust, Verisign and Baltimore Technologies. The deal announced today between PKI and encryption specialists Baltimore and wireless handset manufacturer Motorola, is typical of the type of arrangements that have been struck over the past few weeks to ensure that the mobile arena is as secure as the fixed line world.
Developing digital certificate technology for the mobile device allows handset owners to store their identities on the phone. A digital certificate identifies them, initially through the phone's file system and later through the WIM card, the Wireless Identity Module, which will store certificates. Certificates from enterprises and eCommerce sites will also provide users with the reassurance that they are buying from a reputed source.
Baltimore and Motorola will initially target the service at wireless carriers and financial institutions, which will act as trusted authorities issuing certificates to their users and to the sites they deem reputable enough to offer to their customers (undoubtedly at a cost).
All wireless carriers are keen to get more mobile users onto the Internet - offering wireless Internet services reduces customer churn rate by 47% and increases the average revenue per user by 23%. As the new security measures improve consumer peace of mind about using mCommerce applications, more and more consumers will be persuaded to use mobile Internet services, and revenues per mobile consumer should rise. This should help increase the beleaguered mobile operators' profitability.