SMS Regulations Challenging Delivery Across MEA

SMS Regulations Challenging Delivery Across MEA

Different Types of SMS
Dina Dessouky
September 09, 2019

Despite being the oldest channel used for digital communication, SMS remains one of the simplest and fastest methods used by businesses to communicate with their customers. Boasting a 98% open rate, it has proved its effectiveness for enterprises to communicate with their target audience. The SMS has been used by business in a myriad number of ways: to send promotional messages, reminders, notifications, and one-time passwords.

And hence the application-to-peer (A2P) SMS market has grown over the years.

SMS Fraud Impact on Mobile Operators

With the growth of A2P business, many players have appeared as aggregators and resellers, penetrating the market with illegal routes, opening room for fraudsters to make unlawful profits and illegally benefiting from this business.

Grey routes, sim farms, and other illegal routes are provided with much lower cost comparing to clean direct routes – all which are detrimental to the mobile operators, causing them significant losses. The sheer volume of lost revenue has pushed mobile network operators (MNOs) toward producing protected data pathways to block illegal traffic.

Mobile Operators Impose Restrictions to Counter the Rising Fraud

Illegal routes provided by many aggregators and resellers jeopardized the quality of the message sent to recipients and helped illegal businesses grow. Consequently, firewalls were applied by mobile operators to block these illegal routes and protect their businesses.

Now, nearly 30 percent of mobile operators are applying firewall deployments to block illegal traffic. It is predicted that by 2022, 54% of operators will deploy SS7 firewalls.

The increase in fraud and drop in profits has lead to traffic segregation.

Type of Traffic Segregation

Segregation or differentiation of traffic is a method whereby operators separate SMS traffic based on its type and level of urgency. Traffic can be classified into:

  • One-Time-Passwords (OTP) and other time-sensitive SMS
  • Transactional SMS
  • Promotional/Marketing SMS

This practice is also done by aggregators to ensure delivery and eliminate nondelivery to DND numbers in care of OTP and Transaction traffic.

Restrictions and regulations are applied differently in each country by the mobile operators to control the money flooding from the SMS; while others are trying to protect their clients from spam and unwanted messages.

1- Message Content:

On the other hand, some destinations are dividing the traffic based on its type; such as in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Identifying the traffic as promotional, transactional, or verification is a must in order to assure delivery as the route through which the message is sent must be dedicated for this specific type of messages. Each country has its own regulations. To guarantee delivery, you should always check with your account manager the updated features in order to reach your customers effectively.

2- Local and International:

Local routes tend to be cheaper than international routes; however, to assure delivery in these destinations via a local route, then the business for which the SMS is sent must have a local office and registration paper that proves the company has a local existence. As for the international routes, they tend to be more expensive and sometimes they must be used for specific type of traffic like for OTP and Transactional SMS.

Separating traffic between local and international in many destinations in MEA is a method used in many countries; such as, Egypt, Ghana, Jordon, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Nigeria, Qatar, Tunisia, and Zambia.

Middle East and Africa Changing Regulations

Regulations in MEA are measured based on different aspects including political, religious, and cultural. The problem is that a lot of traffic could fail just because the regulations are so dynamic. So, if you are not aware and updated of the regulations; then your traffic is probably failing. By understanding the regulations and restrictions in MEA, you will be able to increase the delivery rate and the conversion rate effectively and efficiently.

At the end, the SMS business is still booming as it is an irreplaceable effective marketing channel that paved the road for the future of communication, turning many sectors towards digital transformation.

Being updated and aware of the regulations and restrictions will cut you a lot of hassle; but of course, who would know better than those working in the region of your interest. Only with region experts, A2P SMS can help you save money, assure delivery, and receive customer satisfaction.

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