Waheed Adam, Chairman of iTouch Messaging, describes the challenges facing businesses using A2P SMS and the negative impact fraudulent messaging providers have on the industry, and the work being undertaken by MEF to educate the market.
SMS remains a reliable and accepted form of communication both by enterprise and consumer. Its position may have shifted when it comes to P2P communications, however, it still remains number one when it comes to A2P messaging. A2P messaging is still growing on a global scale proving true that its use is still unlocking value in the marketplace.
Mobile Servicing the Sevice Industry
“Service” messaging is certainly on the rise and with the increase in global banking fraud, even European Banks are now confirming transactions via an SMS.
Importantly, the ability to ensure this communication is delivered in a secure environment in order to comply to the ever-increasing regulatory demands is key. The onus rests squarely on the enterprise to protect this data, failing which it could be detrimental to their business. Hence, and above the so-called threats to SMS, this is a good reason why SMS still has life left in it.
RCS' Impact on the Industry
The impact of RCS is yet to be seen and in no way will it be quick. However, from Google’s actions, it appears the MNO’s will be in charge of driving the technology as part of its environment in a way that it will coexist with SMS. If such will be the case it may become a similar commercial offering as SMS is to messaging vendors, with one major difference – a richer experience for the consumer.
The more imminent threat to SMS is the negative impact the fraudulent messaging providers have on the industry.
Their selling point usually relates to discounted pricing as they by-pass the regulated charges and can afford the reduced revenue per message. In most cases, the enterprise buying the service is unawares which is why the market needs to be educated.
Their customer data is at risk and again can be detrimental to their business. In one case, we found that the customers data was journeying through four countries to reach its final destination leaving a copy of the data in each country. This may result in the market losing faith in SMS communication as a reliable and secure service, ultimately reducing the market size.
Due to this fraudulent environment, the fight for the customer keeps reducing margins to the point that legitimate service providers have been forced to close their doors. To the same point, the MNO’s are losing billions in SMS revenue and therefore fight to keep the rates at the price points of today.
Advice for Mobile Fraud Regulators
Equally, regulators can no longer ignore the fraudulent practices taking place, and whilst some fraudsters are blatantly breaking the laws, some areas of fraud are not technically unlawful but rather frowned upon. This needs attention soonest!
Regulators must also collaborate on a global level so as to ensure the desired outcomes are achieved, locally and abroad.
Within MEF’s collaborative, cross-ecosystem Future of Messaging Programme, we have worked with our fellow participants to create the Framework that speaks to this end, now made available globally. The idea is to educate both the market, the consumer and the regulator of the various fraud types, what to look out for, and how to prevent becoming victim to such practices.
It is through education and participation that we can overcome this threat. We must use every opportunity to ensure participation through dialogue.