The European Union (EU) selected Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica and Vodafone Germany to run field trials to develop digital ID functions and improve the security of biometric technology.

Under the project, the EU stated it established a consortium consisting of the operators, which will be responsible for testing biometric-powered digital identity wallets in 19 countries on its behalf.

Countries included in the trial include Germany; Austria; France; Poland; Greece; the Netherlands; and Ukraine.

Registrations for bank accounts and driving licences using the IDs will be tested, while trials for online public services including the use of e-signatures are already underway.

The trials form part of EU efforts to adopt an improved technical framework for secure digital identities, as the methods implemented to date have apparently faced criticism for high costs and vulnerabilities.

Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica and Vodafone will also attempt to curb digital identity fraud and improve security in cross-border SIM card activations in Ukraine.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the new digital identity will be “one that we trust, and that citizens everywhere in Europe can use to do everything from pay taxes to rent a bike. A technology with which we ourselves can control what data is used and how”.

Testing will run until end-2024.