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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Globe pushes use of open APIs for ID verification

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Globe Telecom said Wednesday open application programming interfaces (APIs) are critical in advancing digital solutions in developing markets like the Philippines.

“We’ve been an advocate of open APIs for some time, although it’s not a federated group type of APIs. We started that initiative maybe even eight years ago. We had bilateral types of APIs that we made available through a subsidiary called Globe Labs. We’re firm believers in that and a big supporter,” Globe president and chief executive Ernest Cu said in a panel discussion at the 2024 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Shanghai.

He emphasized the relevance of open APIs for emerging markets such as the Philippines, especially in identity verification.

“Our country’s National ID system is not yet complete. It’s in the works, but the challenges are immense right in that area, including fraud, scams, phishing, and many others. I think a lot of it will be solved if we’re able to provide a secure identity type of validation using the SIM,” said Cu.

Globe recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the GSMA, granting it access to the GSMA Open Gateway. The initiative, involving mobile network operators worldwide, aims to develop Mobile Network Open Applications Programming Interfaces (APIs) using a common set of open-source APIs that can be reused for different purposes.

GSMA Open Gateway launched with eight network APIs, enabling capabilities ranging from enhanced security and fraud prevention to secure authentication and location-based services.

When asked about the potential $300-billion opportunity for Open Gateway initiatives predicted by global management consulting firm McKinsey, Cu expressed cautious optimism.

While uncertain about the exact figure for emerging markets, he noted the significance of monetizing telco assets such as APIs to maintain growth. Globe already saw success in monetizing its fintech and telco data into a fintech score and extending this to APIs and services is a logical next step, he said.

Cu noted his company’s unique position as both a telecom provider and a leader in financial technology through GCash, the country’s number one finance superapp. This creates a wealth of information and services that could be shared and developed through open-source APIs on top of what Globe already has, he said.

“A big spoiler for me would be security. Anytime you’re exposing anything that has access to a vast trove of information on the back end, it’s critical that we implement proper cybersecurity controls around the different APIs. Only one leakage will destroy it for all of us and have operators retreating from implementation or even joining the consortium,” he said.

As the telco industry continues to evolve, Cu’s insights underscore the importance of collaboration, innovation, and security in shaping the future of digital services and applications.


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