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A2P SMS strategies – What should I watch out for?

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Solid A2P SMS strategies are pivotal for capitalising on A2P market opportunities. Trustworthy partnerships are an essential part of those strategies. Otherwise, you can fall victim to grey route scammers or cyber criminals and lose revenue.

The volume of application-to-person (A2P) SMS business traffic is rocketing. According to Juniper Research, A2P SMS traffic will reach 3.5 trillion messages in 2023, and some experts project that A2P SMS global revenue will hit $ 77.76 billion by 2027.

a2p sms business traffic graph

The industry has been growing for years, but the technology found its calling during the 2020 pandemic. Thanks to its simplicity, ubiquity across devices, and cost-effectiveness, governments worldwide chose it as a trusted means of communicating with citizens about COVID-19.

More businesses are recognising the value of SMS as a revenue generator thanks to its reliability, speed, reach and significantly higher open rates than emails or messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber, or WeChat. Understandably, businesses are embracing A2P SMS as an effective B2C communications channel.

However, where there is money to make, immoral people will try and take advantage. Here are a couple of things to look out for.

Grey route scammers

Grey route scams typically involve a nefarious partner routing A2P traffic through cheaper routes. It can happen by sending your A2P traffic via cheap prepaid P2P (person-to-person) sim cards, masking A2P traffic as P2P traffic, or charging an international A2P rate while using a cheaper national A2P route. 

Filtering A2P SMS traffic is another fraudulent method of overcharging. It happens when a partner only delivers critical communications like one-time passwords and generates fake message-delivered reports for the undelivered messages but still charges for them.

Even the intentional use of grey route operators is ill-advised and can damage brand reputations and impact revenue. Grey routes are unreliable, and your SMS campaigns can experience dodgy deliveries or manipulated content and sending addresses. Networks could also register your SMS messages as spam and block them.

SMS cyber criminals

Text messages are a vital tool for many businesses. Two-factor authentication codes, order delivery information, or suspicious account activity notifications are some sensitive types of SMS messages subscribers might receive. Using SMS for these reasons has made SMS security highly important for A2P SMS.

A significant security advantage of SMS over messaging apps is that SMS is more direct. While you and your immediate partners’ security might be of the highest standard, it’s hard to account for the security of all the actors in a supply network. Messaging app communications have more stakeholders than SMS, increasing the opportunities for cybercriminals to strike. By keeping the number of stakeholders low, it’s easier to safeguard systems.

What to look for in a partner

Criminals always seek new ways to infiltrate systems and exploit vulnerabilities as new technologies emerge. So, working with trusted partners is the best option when planning your SMS strategy.

One of the first signs of a grey route scammer is the price. If you find an A2P SMS solution at a low cost, you may well be dealing with a grey route scammer.

Security is another important factor. Some key security features to look for with an SMS platform provider are transparency, compliance with regulations, and direct routing without grey routes. Additional platform security tools might include two-factor authentication, deny and allow listing, SMS content filtering, and fraud prevention features.

Michael K headshot

“When selecting an SMS business partner, be sure to ask lots of questions. If a provider obfuscates regarding their compliance with regulations or how they route communications, it’s worth talking to a more trustworthy provider.”

Michael Karakashian, Project Manager at Squire Technologies


Speak with one of our experts to learn more, or visit www.squire-technologies.com   

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