Pieter Streicher (image supplied).
Application-to-person (A2P) messaging is the “only hope” for mobile operators to make a profit from their SMS messaging infrastructure, said Pieter Streicher, managing director of BulkSMS.
HumanIPO reported last month on the A2P SMS interconnect fee, which Streicher called a “pleasant surprise” for businesses, despite the increase in SMS costs.
In May Streicher said SMS is still the best medium for business communication.
“The ever-resilient SMS industry has had a pretty busy start to 2013. Firstly, messaging via mobile applications such as WhatsApp has cannibalised a large portion of person-to-person (P2P) SMS messaging. This left…A2P SMS messaging as the only hope for operators to profit from their SMS messaging infrastructure,” said Streicher.
Streicher added: “Since Cell C started terminating A2P SMS messages on all networks in the absence of any SMS interconnect fees, the bigger operators were forced to call for SMS interconnect fees for A2P SMS messaging if they were to retain any A2P SMS messaging revenue. Most networks have now signed SMS interconnect agreements, and these have been lodged with ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa).”
Given this, Streicher said it is important to remember the difference between P2P and A2P messaging because the distinction between the two is not necessarily straightforward and getting it wrong could be “disastrous” for operators.
Streicher said defining SMS messages by their intention, for example personal communication being P2P and a message advertising something for sale is A2P, is problematic for several reasons, mostly because not all companies sending out messages via high volume SMS applications are attempting to make a sale, some of these messages may be reminders.
“Fortunately, we have ended up with a technical definition of A2P versus P2P messages. They are defined according to their provenance – where they originate. All messages that do not originate from a valid mobile device with a valid SIM card are regarded as A2P messages (excluding only [Please] Call Me messages).”
“Messages that do originate from a valid mobile device with a valid SIM card are regarded as P2P messages subject to certain traffic limits setting the threshold of acceptable use. So if messages via a mobile device, and that device sends in excess of 50 messages an hour, they are again classed as A2P messages,” explained Streicher.
The International Mobile Standard Equipment Identity (IMSI) and the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMEI) provide the means by which operators identify valid handsets and SIM cards.
This has caused operators to pay closer attention to the origin of messages, because they have to bill A2P and P2P messages appropriately, they are now also able to deal with SMS spamming, scams and fraud.
“The network’s practice of defining SMS messaging technically, as where they are coming from, is good news for businesses using SMS for operational and marketing communications.
“This means that industry standards and regulations for A2P messaging are in place and that all businesses have a level playing field from which to implement SMS messaging as a reliable channel to deliver timeous communications to customers, clients or suppliers,” concluded Streicher.