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23 October 2017
Deutsche Telekom’s SMS+ offering provides a dynamic one-stop-shop for secure international messaging. Christian Wollner and Matija Percan explain how
In recent times, application-to-person (A2P) messaging has
shown explosive growth, surging in both volume and value, and
making up an increasing proportion of SMS traffic. This trend
looks set to continue, making it increasingly essential that
players in the market can ensure the delivery of safe, secure
and reliable messages.
Deutsche Telekom’s International Carrier Sales
& Solutions (ICSS) division has something that meets
exactly those needs: known as SMS+, the SS7-based service forms
part of the unit’s 360° Defense strategy and
was launched in 2015, with the aim of fighting the growing
pervasiveness of security issues such as SMS fraud, spam and
ghost messaging. Such practices can add large amounts of
unwanted traffic to networks and ultimately result in lost
revenue and damaged brand reputation.
The SMS+ service – which is aimed at a variety of
customers, such as enterprises, OTT players, SMS aggregators
and mobile operators – also meets the growing
expectation for secure and safe communication between
businesses and people at any time, anywhere and via each
party’s preferred method.
One major advantage of SMS+ is that it provides a
centralised A2P security service for the whole Deutsche Telekom
Group, rather than customers having to sign up to separate
offerings with different company units. "SMS+ acts as a
one-stop shop for the whole Group and makes life easier for
international customers," says Christian Wollner, head of
product management for Mobile World services at ICSS.
Wollner explains that customers previously needed up to a
dozen or so different connections and contracts in multiple
currencies with different Group companies – so this
helps cut out that complexity and enables mobile operators, SMS
providers and aggregators to safely terminate SMS to a large
number of networks via a single access point. "The basic idea
is that customers can deal with one entity and have one
contract in one currency," says Wollner.
Protect and transit
The SMS+ service comprises two products. One of these is
SMS+ Protect, a firewall service that enables the
identification and interception of fraudulent SMS messages by
detecting and blocking grey-route traffic that bypasses
termination fees. It has a crucial advantage over many static
filtering tools, which cannot keep up with the ever-changing
behaviour of grey-route traffic, and ultimately helps to
prevent lost revenue, free up bandwidth for revenue-producing
traffic, improve user satisfaction and cut churn.
"We have a very powerful platform," says Matija Percan,
business development manager at ICSS. "We can detect grey
routes dynamically in a very efficient manner." Again, he
emphasises the fact that customers get access to a
one-stop-shop if they need termination to more than one
Deutsche Telekom affiliate, capitalising on the
company’s wide subscriber base.
On this service, ICSS has also teamed up with SMS firewall
and A2P monetisation service provider Anam Technologies, with
the two companies’ combined offering providing a
suite of dynamic traffic-filtering capabilities based on
The other product under SMS+ is SMS+ Transit, which provides
a central SMS hub that uses only official, high-quality A2P
channels for the delivery of messages and enables rapid
termination of traffic.
With regard to this service, ICSS last year announced a
link-up with cloud communications company Nexmo. The
partnership enables Nexmo to reach the mobile networks of
Deutsche Telekom and its affiliates, as well as outside the
footprint via partner networks, helping to take
customers’ businesses to the next level by
improving delivery quality for A2P messaging. A further
partnership is with DIMOCO Messaging, which powers
communications between companies and consumers.
And with an earlier agreement in place with Telefonica
Business Solutions to directly connect each
other’s wholesale A2P mobile messaging hubs, ICSS
has several strong partnerships in place that help it forge
ahead in this area – with that particular link-up
giving great scope for companies with large, global customer
bases to harness widespread, secure and high-quality SMS
ICSS plans, meanwhile, to take its learnings from SMS+ and
help them bring benefits to other areas of the business,
meaning that this experience can be harnessed as the basis for
growth elsewhere too. For example, the company wants to expand
the concept of a centralised connection for the whole Group
into technologies such as rich communication services (RCS),
enabling, among other things, richer dialogue with
For now and into the future, the SMS+ service itself helps
to bring ICSS, the Deutsche Telekom Group and their partners a
powerful platform that offers a centralised, hub-like service
with a high level of protection.
And this can certainly open up the possibilities of A2P
messaging going forward, in a market where there is major room
for expansion. "While P2P SMS are in decline, we still see a
lot of potential in A2P SMS," says Wollner. "There is very good
growth in it."