How mobile operators can mitigate the effects of spam
Spam – don’t you just hate it? As a mobile phone owner, it’s annoying to constantly receive SMS messages that you haven’t asked for and haven’t consented to. Whether they are urging you to get in touch about your alleged right to claim PPI or offering a free boiler, the automatic response is to immediately hit delete.
But who is to blame for this unauthorised digital junk? There is a tendency to put the blame on mobile operators but is it really down to them or are third parties sneaking in under the radar?
If you receive a knock at the door you aren’t expecting, you might be inclined to ignore it, says Roneel Prasad, founder & CCO at 365squared.
But what if that knock came every week at the same time? Most people are bound to feel a growing frustration at the individual who was knocking and the company which sent them. So is there anything you can do?
It is safe to say that much depends on the willingness of the mobile operators to change, and the legislation in countries in controlling the amount of spam that is generated and sent to subscribers.
There are countries where guidelines and directives on spam and unwanted messages have been in place for a number of years, but mobile operators have either not taken measures or are just beginning to comply. Then there are countries that have little or no anti-spam legislation but where mobile operators are taking initiatives in self-regulation.
Encouragingly, there are countries where there is anti-spam legislation in place which does helps keep the level of unwanted text messages fairly low.
Therefore, where there are low levels of legislation, coupled with lower operator security and low set-up costs for the spammer, it is unsurprising that there is a direct correlation between this and the willingness of the mobile operators to self-regulate. This all impacts on the amount of spam mobile phone owners receive.
Receiving constant spam causes customers to feel like they are getting a bad service and the first port of call for many is their service provider. Mobile operators receive thousands of calls every day from disgruntled customers, complaining about the spam they are receiving day in, day out. These conversations often end with customers threatening to take their business elsewhere if the problem is not resolved.
For the mobile operators, in addition to costs, this can mean loss of revenue – not only from customers walking out the door but also from third parties coming in through the back door to use the network to send their uncontrolled spam messages.
Combined with the challenging market conditions that currently exist, this loss of revenue hits mobile operators hard. The amount of competition on the market means they cannot afford to be unwise to the risks spam can bring but how can operators effectively manage this, while keeping OPEX costs down?
For many, the solution is the same as the problem – bringing in a third party. In this case, though, rather than working against the operator, a dedicated and focused managed services provider will work with the mobile operator, ensuring any front, side or back doors into the network are not only kept shut but also guarded 24/7.
Furthermore, OPEX challenges are addressed as anyone who does want to come in – and is offering a service deemed to be of value to the operator’s customers – has to pay a fee.
The time to act is now
This added security benefits both operator and customer and leads to almost instantaneous monetisation of SMS traffic, as well as fewer calls to customer service. With Statista predicting the amount of mobile phone users to reach more than five billion by 2019 and the total global A2P (application to person) SMS revenue will be approx. 236 billion USD (according to Portio Research), the opportunity for mobile operators to generate additional revenue is huge.
However, as mobile devices proliferate society, consumer expectations are also growing – it is now no longer enough to simply connect your end-users to the network, with excellent customer service and value-add offerings also expected as standard. As spam does certainly not fit into either of these brackets, mobile operators need to remember the potentially damaging effect this can have on their brand and, more importantly, their customers. For mobile operators the risk of customer churn and costs to effectively combat spam and unsolicited messages means more headaches.
For mobile operators looking to unlock the potential of these additional revenue opportunities, there is only one way to go about it – take action, protect your customers and prosper.
The author of this blog is Roneel Prasad, founder & CCO at 365squared.
About Roneel Prasad – founder & CCO 365squared
Roneel is an international business professional with almost seven years of experience in telecoms and an additional seven years of experience in accounting and corporate finance. He offers us a unique blend of experience having worked in wholesale voice and messaging, roaming and prepaid retail business with commercial responsibilities.
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