Proposed FCC Order Stresses the Importance of Carrier Messaging Hubs and Messaging Trusts in Protecting the Privacy and Integrity of Mobile Operators’ Subscribers

Smartphone users, rejoice: The days of spam calls and junk text messages may finally be coming to an end.

A proposed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate, issued in March, outlined plans to crack down on automated robocalls and spam text messages because of concerns about data privacy and security.

Text messages are one of our most popular forms of communication, quickly connecting people to one another, whether in the case of friends and family, businesses and customers, or governments and their constituents. But, with that popularity comes risk.  Unsolicited text messages, which can be illegal, present similar problems as unwanted calls—they invade consumer privacy and serve as a vehicle for fraud, identity theft, and other scams.

Just how bad has this matter become? Americans received more than 225 billion spam text messages in 2022—roughly 675 per person—and more than 2.5 times as many as in 2021, according to a study by Robokiller. Consumer losses from fraudulent text messages totaled $231 million throughout the first three quarters of 2022, up from $86 million in 2020, the FCC said.

According to the FCC, the new report and order, if adopted, would apply to U.S.-based mobile operators and partners who deliver application-to-person (A2P) and person-to-application (P2A) text messages to end subscribers. It would require mobile operators to block text messages from suspicious sources, including phone numbers that appear to be “invalid, unallocated, or unused.”

In addition, the mandate would ensure that subscribers can report any erroneous text messages to their mobile network operator so the number can be blocked. Mobile operators can also block text messages coming from phone numbers that are not used to send text messages.

There is though, a silver lining.

Syniverse has been at the forefront of this activity and is well-positioned to offer a suite of messaging solutions specifically designed to combat this type of unwanted messaging, provide relief to mobile operators, and protect its operator customers’ subscribers and their data.

Introducing the Concept of a Carrier Messaging Hub
What if instead of employing third-party messaging aggregators to filter, route, and distribute the hundreds of millions of SMS text messages that traverse an operator’s network each day, operators themselves also acted as their own messaging aggregator?

It’s entirely possible with Syniverse’s Carrier Messaging Hub—a holistic, direct, end-to-end solution that provides operators with the opportunity to efficiently monetize and gain greater control of their A2P messaging traffic. In addition, this strategy also enables operators to own the direct relationships with enterprises, aggregators, and sub-aggregators across multiple channels, while yielding a multitude of benefits.

Amongst those are the ability to open new revenue streams and improve margins, leverage their own brand and reputation to maintain customer loyalty, strengthen their existing enterprise customer relationships, create their own campaigns from compliance to the end-customer experience, detect spam, manage content classification, obtain greater control of subscribers, and gain more visibility of all messaging activity on their network.

In short, it all comes down to control.

The FCC’s requirement imposed upon mobile network operators to block messages from purported North American numbering plans, combined with operators’ own efforts to sort, validate, and distribute its own text messages as an aggregator, will prove to be a joint effort in delivering legitimate text messages, while essentially filtering out all the junk, thus resulting in more satisfied customers.

A Carrier Messaging Hub is a Gateway to Growth
Perhaps what’s less obvious is what a messaging hub can really do for an operator’s business. We, here at Syniverse, talk a lot about what operators can do to better manage relationships and facilitate distribution with their enterprise partners, as well as discuss new opportunities by shifting the existing model into becoming independent messaging aggregators. But let’s drill down into how operators can capitalize on futureproofing their messaging business from the much larger strategy of implementing a messaging hub, to a more specific approach that enables them to maintain that specific level of control and eliminate spam text messages.

Trust Your Text Messages
Using guided machine learning combined with advanced machine learning algorithms, neural network models with a rule-based engine, Syniverse’s Messaging Trust performs immediate message analysis and provides a more precise method of detecting fraudsters by analyzing the contents of all messaging traffic, discarding spam or fraud-like campaigns, and permitting only legitimate text messages on your network.

What Messaging Trust Can Do for You

— Accurately and proactively monitor, identify, and remove spam from all message flows. Machine learning algorithms rapidly review message content and identify clusters of messages that may be spam. Each cluster is given a confidence rating that indicates the likelihood it is spam or fraud. Customized thresholds and policy controls are set to individual customer preferences. Further action is taken against phone numbers that generate high volumes of spam or fraud.

— Protect your business and subscribers against fraud. It filters messages with known smishing and malicious content elements.

— Prevent re-initiation of known spam campaigns under new MSISDNs. It compares message content elements to those of known spam campaigns.

Apply risk ratings. They’re computed for individual mobile data networks based on content sent to Messaging Trust. Their risk rating is determined from a combination of content and policy control violations.

Filter spam messages on the following criteria:

— Score of the message sender

— Blacklists

— Message status

— Message content elements

— Service type

— Filter type that the message has triggered

Looking to the Future of Text Messaging
Regardless of whether the FCC approves the mandate, Syniverse has deployed preventative services and solutions throughout the messaging ecosystem that address spam messaging and continues to offer innovative approaches designed to increase the integrity of messaging and eliminate unwanted communications.

Beyond basic anti-spam and fraud functionality, Syniverse takes a multi-faceted approach by offering additional services that legitimize standard A2P messaging workflows, such as content classification, campaign compliance and verified sender, proving that there is no doubt that a message is trustworthy. 

Additional services can also be integrated to address campaign compliance by identifying different types of text messages to add an additional layer of protection. Applying message categories, providing sender validation tokens, implementing drift detection, and verifying a sender, for example, drives messaging credibility and ultimately leads to the elimination of unwanted text messages.

Collectively, these services not only protect against fraud, but also futureproof an operator’s messaging business and the end subscriber experience to foster and sustain a healthier messaging ecosystem for future generations of 5G and beyond as new network technologies continue to evolve.

( Sr. Technical Product Manager )

Lori Leong has more than 32 years of experience in the technology and telecommunications industries, serving primarily as a product management professional in messaging and network service deployments for global companies.  With a strong passion for emerging cutting-edge technologies, and a strong focus on developing high-quality services that deliver customer satisfaction across the entire ecosystem, Lori is committed to sharing her industry knowledge and experience across both organizational and multi-cultural boundaries to help move the ever-evolving telecom landscape forward.



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