Telcos Increase Focus on A2P Messaging Fraud

There are few things more annoying than spam text messages from criminals pretending to be a legitimate business. Thankfully, a revised industry code of conduct and a new team of wholesale carriers both signal increased focus on the abuse of A2P messaging services. The Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF), a trade body for businesses engaged with mobile communications services, is currently seeking feedback for the next version of their existing A2P SMS Code of Conduct, which was first published in April 2018. Meanwhile, the i3forum has launched a new messaging fraud work group for wholesale carriers.

MEF’s A2P SMS Code of Conduct sets expectations for how multiple parties should behave when handling SMS messages sent from applications (in other words, machines) to people. Signatories to the code include:

  • mobile networks and virtual networks
  • A2P SMS aggregators and communications platform-as-a-service providers
  • relevant technology providers
  • enterprises that use SMS to communicate with customers

MEF was founded in 2001 and was previously known as the Mobile Entertainment Forum. They have broadened their scope over time, and now address a range issues relating to how telcos and their enterprise customers handle problems and manage their relationships.

Complaints about signatories to MEF’s Code are reviewed by a small group of independent professionals. MEF is understood to be looking at options to enhance their compliance committee.

It is expected that the revised A2P SMS Code of Conduct will be published in September. Anyone wanting to give input to the new version of the Code should provide it to MEF by August 21st.

The i3forum’s new working group for messaging fraud includes representation from AT&T, BICS, Deutsche Telekom ICSS, LANCK Telecom, Orange, OTE Globe, PCCW Global, Sparkle and Tata Communications. This new group will work separately from the i3forum’s long-established group for voice fraud.

The new i3forum messaging fraud group will be chaired by Anurag Aggarwal, Director of Messaging Services at Tata Communications. Aggarwal is also a member of the MEF board, and his new i3forum group is likely to be closely aligned to the program pursued by MEF.

Dario Betti, CEO of the Mobile Ecosystem Forum, will be a guest for the August 5th episode of RAG Television. We will talk about A2P SMS fraud and the changes that MEF is considering for their revised Code of Conduct.

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.