Vodafone Group and IBM became the first members of a GSMA industry taskforce formed to help shape policy and business processes for mobile operators in the era of advanced quantum computing.

The industry association noted the GSMA Post-Quantum Telco Network Taskforce aims to enhance protection for telecommunications systems in this new era, noting a requirement to mitigate risks associated with more powerful computers.

It added without so-called quantum-safe controls in place, sensitive information such as consumer data and confidential business details could be at risk from being harvested and decrypted by attackers.

The group aims to “drive consensus and adoption in this new field” with work centred on defining a strategy to integrate quantum-safe capabilities into operator businesses and security; standardisation of these technologies within networks; and work around related public policy and regulation.

In the statement Vodafone head of R&D Luke Ibbetson described quantum computing as “by far the biggest revolution in computing since the 1950s”, explaining “most of it will have a positive impact on our industry and society as we move towards fully automated networks”.

“At the same time, future quantum computing could inherently undermine the cryptographic principles relied on today.”

GSMA CTO Alex Sinclair added the group’s goal was to connect “leading global communication services providers with experts from IBM, Vodafone and other operators and ecosystem partners to understand and implement quantum-safe technology”.