Makes sense that carriers would take this approach especially since they are the backbone to cloud infrastructures.
Originally posted on Gigaom:
Carriers have devised a new way to insert themselves into the mobile apps value chain. They want to become the identity managers for mobile services that require user registration or authentication. Just as many apps today allow you to log in using your Facebook(s fb), LinkedIn(s lnkd) or Twitter credentials, carriers are hoping customers will start registering for services with their phone numbers.
To accomplish this the GSM Association launched a new initiative called the OneAPI Exchange at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The idea is to create an application programming interface (API) that any mobile app developer can use to authenticate new users against a carrier’s subscriber identity data. So far AT&T(s t), Orange(s fte), Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica(s tef) and Vodafone(s vod) have all signed on to the program, and together they represent a healthy chunk of the world’s mobile subscribers.
At first glance, the initiative seems like a nifty idea. If there is one thing every mobile subscriber in the world has it’s a phone number, making it ideal as a universal credential. But operators are also hoping to be more than just a username replacement. In a demo at Mobile World Congress, the GSMA showed off a bike rental app, in which carrier data was used not only to identify the user, but verify location and charge the rental to the customer’s mobile bill.