Kerala-based Mobile VAS company MobMe Wireless Solutions has inked agreements with Valimo, a mobile authentication and digital signature solution provider and Gemalto, a digital security company, to launch a mobile digital signature solution called Mobile Express.

While the financial details of the partnership were not disclosed, Finland-based Valimo stated that MobMe will be using Valimo’s Mobile ID solution and Gemalto’s UpTeq PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) SIM cards to develop a secure authentication channel to enable legally binding digital signatures on transactions through mobile phones. The company claims that this solution is the first-ever mobile signature solution in India and that it will be available for all handsets.

Implementation: At the time of writing this article, the service was in private beta and there is no word on when the service will be launched. However Valimo stated that the solution has already been deployed across MobME’s datacenter and will be available for all mobile network operators and service providers such as banks and enterprises across India.

The company claimed that the solution is open and interoperable and operators who intend to offer this service will have to initially offer the SIM card comprising of requisite software to their subscribers, following which the subscriber will have to register to start using the service on their mobile phone. The company claimed that the solution features a two-factor authentication which ensures the proof of Identity and non-repudiation of transactions.

Target Segments: Valimo stated that this solution will be useful for financial, healthcare, enterprise and eGovernment services which require strong user identification, authentication and transaction authorization.

Will It Succeed? Success of this solution depends on the huge ecosystem being built where all users and stake holders will be expected to change their infrastructure and SIM card for Mobile Express which is based on Public Key Infrastructure.

Previous Developments: In November 2009, Kerala Government had awarded an m-Governance contract to MobMe. This contract covered 21 pilot projects over 8 months across state government departments using a single number, 537252. Among the services offered in the pilot project include University exam results & related information, Vehicle details over SMS, News alerts to journalists, Insurance details, Blood donation requests sent out taking location inputs into account, Movie ticketing on mobile for Kerala State Film Development Corporation, Audio guides for tourists at hotspots, Bus route timings and Inventory tracking for Public Distribution System among others.

Prior to this, MobMe had also tied up with the smartphone manufacturer HTC to pre-load its photo-sharing application MobShare onto HTC’s Android powered HTC Magic. It had also tied up with a prominent Kerala newspaper Mathrubhumi to launch a co-branded mobile site in a revenue-share deal. The company had also enabled Network18’s CNN IBN television channel to make use of MobShare platform for its Citizen Journalism initiative.

By Vikas SN and Werner Egipsy Souza