A higher level of messaging protection

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 real-time monitoring.

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 transmission.

Moving ahead

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 chatbots.

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."

Topics: Deutsche Telekom, SMS, messaging, wholesale telecom, Capacity media