$583mn of A2P SMS Bypass Fraud during 2020 per Araxxe Tests

A fascinating initiative by RAFM test experts Araxxe saw them send over 3 million test SMS messages in order to measure A2P SMS bypass fraud. Extrapolating from test results to total traffic for 106 countries led Araxxe to calculate aggregate fraud losses of EUR492mn (USD583mn) across the whole of 2020.

The most infected businesses had a disturbingly high proportion of gray traffic. The worst SMS aggregator globally suffered a 98 percent infection rate. Gray traffic represented more than a third of total traffic in several countries.

Araxxe analyzed its results into six regions, which it represented as a series of maps showing financial losses and infection rates per country. The following table includes a link to each regional map and shows the total A2P SMS bypass fraud leakage in that region.

Region 2020 A2P SMS Bypass Fraud (USD)
Africa and Middle East $187mn
Europe $244mn
Latin America $110mn
North America $61mn
Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia $117mn
SE Asia and Australia $85mn

Update 16:26 UTC, 17 March 2021: The title and opening paragraph have been reworded to clarify that the values of the estimated losses relate to the whole of 2020. We regret that a misunderstanding about when testing was performed wrongly gave the impression that these figures only covered losses in January 2021.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.