Application-to-Peer (A2P) Messaging: A Beginner's Guide

Application-to-Peer (A2P) Messaging: A Beginner's Guide

Cequens Editorial Team
September 17, 2018

A2P, P2P, and SMS are just some of the terms that have bubbled up through the new messaging ecosystem that we live in today. With new apps and messaging tools springing up every day, people communicate faster than ever.

Some of the most significant tools in the intersection of business and communication fields include:

  • A2P: Application-to-Peer messages that are sent from automated services to humans.
  • P2P: Peer-to-Peer (or "Person-to-Person") messages that are sent between individuals.
  • SMS: Short Message Service that is limited to 160 or fewer characters.

People in the United States send more than 6 billion SMS messages every day. It has revolutionized the way that people communicate. (Technically, A2P is a subset of SMS, so Application-to-Peer messaging is also called "A2P SMS.")

While these phrases may seem like tech-jargon, they are reshaping the way that industries do business, and they represent a market that has grown by billions of dollars in recent years.

For a detailed look at how A2P messaging could help companies large or small, read on.

Market Overview

All of those A2P pings on phones contribute to the technology's financial growth.

According to recent research, the A2P SMS market was valued at $55 billion (USD) in 2014, a figure expected to swell to $70 billion by 2020. The projection makes sense because SMS is the primary mobile-specific service that companies use to communicate with clients.

Today, people are comfortable getting text messages, whether they come from best friends or companies.

Studies have also found that customers will open SMS 98-99% of the time, making it a marketing tool with enormous potential. (By contrast, people open their emails just 20% of the time.)

The SMS industry is expanding throughout African countries, but its two most robust markets are currently in North America and the Asian Pacific. Communications companies are eyeing the latter region because of the huge populations of countries like India and China, which continue to sign up for mobile subscriptions.

With ample room to grow, there aren't any reasons to suspect that another messaging technology will replace A2P's convenience in the near future.

What does the Future hold for A2P messaging?

On that note, what's next for A2P? Market analysts predict a number of trends for the mobile messaging landscape, including:

  • Two-way SMS
  • The further growth of A2P
  • The development of Rich Communication Systems (RCS)

Essentially, RCS boils down to protocols that will be coded into A2P messaging to make them, well, richer communication systems. That might mean a "phone book" organizing function, or the ability to see which messages have been read already. The enhanced capabilities will make messaging even more convenient and useful.

The proliferation of this market, however, may lead to A2P scams, so communications operators will need to fine-tune sophisticated firewalls to block fake companies from sending fraudulent messages to their customers.

Nothing under the sun is new - except the internet. Many working adults can remember dial-up, or a time when they received notifications on typewritten letterheads. But the day has arrived when insurance files, wedding pictures, bank transaction histories, and other information gets stored in the cloud.

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