Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert developed the concept of SMS in 1984 but the first text message “Merry Christmas” was sent in 1992 by Neil Papworth to Richard Jarvis from a PC, due to mobile phones not having a keyboard. Nokia was the first handset manufacturer to have a phone line that supported SMS text sending in 1993. It later became the first manufacturer to build a mobile phone with a full keyboard in 1997. From 0.4 text messages per month per American user in 1995 to the premium A2P and P2P Messaging Market valued at USD 65.61 billion in 2019, the world has witnessed business entities increasing their focus and spending on consumer interaction vis A2P SMS service; across domains- FMCG, Banking, Hospitality, Healthcare. For the period 2020-2027, growing at a CAGR of 5.62%, it is projected to reach USD 98.51 billion by 2027- And guess how? By businesses just looking into their own database of numbers that’s already accessible and ready to use.
Technology may have made our lives easier but in many parts of the world, technology is still optional especially the evolved, high-tech, high-maintenance kind. While the pandemic did slow us down, as customers we never stopped asking for better services. As consumers, we still held the power to threaten equilibrium by moving from service to service in search of someone who treated us well, stayed connected, and made our needs their priority. Services that made us feel well taken care of. Another aspect that came to haunt us is the need to do things on our own amidst the chaos of the physical distancing and numerous the pandemic rules and regulations. Staying safe became the goal but work had to happen, bills had to be printed, acknowledgments to be sent, appointments to be made, connections to be built, existing relations to be invested in loyalties to be celebrated, all within the boundaries of pandemic regulations.
At the starting of the chaos created by the Pandemic, there was a commotion that the services will collapse, years of work on building loyalties be lost while A2P messaging was painted as a complex and insecure service option. But in the hindsight, the lack of action and proactive A2P utilization as a service would have definitely killed customer relations. Every service has its challenges, and every strategy comes with a risk. Those who capitalized on the opportunity would tell you that staying committed to enterprise messaging was a calculated risk, but not guesswork. Numbers back up A2P messaging credibility.
In May 2021 it was reported that the top 5 highest number of smartphone users belong to the following countries: China (911.92 million), India (439.42 million), the United States (270 million), Indonesia (160.23 million), Brazil (109,36 million). (Statista). While new technologies created new opportunities to fill in the gaps of existing technology embedded in the weave of society, SMS services needed no fancy phones, no Internet, no real technical knowledge – to stay connected, be valued, and to be acknowledged. And this was not meant for just the cream of the layer, this old-age technology was ready to take over the world’s densest as well as approachable set of people in the most bias-less environment.
During the Pandemic, all the technical advances, internet-dependent services required maintenance but, in the chaos, SMS survived and thrived without the Internet and expensive multimedia devices. In the past two years, SMS services have found their way back into the headlines. The A2P SMS messaging service has been offering a wide range of products, and opportunities covering everything under the sun- be it customer care, billing, community building, employee engagement, Government notices, reminders for services, marketing, and many more.
On a global scale, the total number of cellphone users in 2016 was 3668 billion which is expected to reach 7516 billion by 2026. (Statista). Approximately 1.8 billion millennials (23% of the global population) have a smartphone (MSCI) and 76% of them prefer texting. (TextMagic, 2019). If this doesn’t look like numbers that can aid a strategic business opportunity but guesswork then we will never know what actual failure is, because A2P messaging at the least doesn’t seem to lose its “disruptive aided service” status anytime soon.
There are different ways including one-time passwords (OTPs), passwords with timers, or a two-factor authentication (2FA) solution for fraud prevention.
In cases of natural disaster, or during an emergency response scenario, SMS has the reach and delivery window needed for criticality.
SMS has a robust and reliable network for the detail-oriented work for Customer care services. Appointments, acknowledgments, service-related information, paperless bills, etc. can be taken care of while nurturing the existing or newly built client-service provider relationship.
Rules, regulations, and restrictions control different geographies, and many times the difference is created between rival service providers. This is the result of incorporating own business processes, self-regulation that controls all the aspects of A2P services -from content restrictions, word limit to ownership.
The most common reason for low delivery rates impacting the quality of the dataset is usually because of incorrect numbers or numbers on roaming services. Such messages are never received, yet always charged.
Mobile network operators take it on their credibility to assure their clients and messaging partners that they have strong spam prevention mechanisms in place. If not, the misfires can be reported as spam resulting in blacklisting.
Nick Lane, Founder & Chief Industry Analyst, Mobilesquared, in a webinar on “Mobile Operators & A2P SMS – Tracking the evolution in fraud” mentioned that the industry will lose USD 47.72 billion to grey routes in the period 2020-2025. He also mentioned how out of the 2 trillion A2P SMS projected to be sent in 2024, nearly under one-quarter of which will be via grey routes.
Nick added that based on 100% white route traffic A2P SMS has the potential to reach USD 27.48 billion in 2024. Reportedly 48% of mobile operators are yet to use a stronger more powerful SMS firewall.
What we need to understand is that these firewalls have crossed the ‘just for protection’ barrier ages ago. Now they not only keep you safe but are flaunt-able assets to monetize A2P messaging services. Every fraud ever prevented is an addition to the revenue. And staying ahead with a next-generation firewall is the only way to go.
With the exponential increase in the number of mobile phones in addition to the growth, reach, and customer engagement A2P messaging provides, it seems A2PA2P is here to stay and guarantee that your customers remain your priority.
Bankai Group’s Broadband Telecom offers Enterprise Messaging Solution a highly customizable, cost-effective, reliable yet fast plug-and-play A2P (Application-to-Person) messaging system to take care of your messaging needs. Broadband Telecom also provides analysis and insights by tracking the development and using the data to accommodate the optimizations in the future while covering extensions like M2M, M2P, P2M, and more.