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Global Mobile Messaging Market Competition Escalates

Mobile network service provider revenue loss from 'grey route' application-to-person (A2P) traffic will amount to $62 billion over the next 6 years, despite the increased deployment of security measures, according to the latest worldwide market study by Juniper Research.

Historically, the A2P service offering was used for mobile alerts or as a billing methodology and transport for simple content and services -- both for one-off downloads or actions (such as voting) and for recurring transaction payments.

The study discovered that the high levels of grey route traffic -- essentially A2P messages masquerading as P2P (Person to Person) messages and delivered via non-interconnected routes -- could be attributed by the scale of the price differential between A2P and P2P.

Mobile Messaging Market Development

Today, the trend has become more pronounced as mobile network operators have offered high-volume, low cost SMS bundles to cope with the challenge of Over-the-Top (OTT) messaging services, with grey route traffic now accounting for more than 30 percent of all A2P messages.

According to the research findings, the typical cost of an A2P message using grey routes was often just 25 percent of a directly connected A2P message -- with many enterprises understandably drawn to the lower priced messaging service offerings.

However, the Juniper analyst claimed that unless the incidence of grey route traffic was reduced, then enterprises might become dissatisfied with the A2P service offering.


"Companies that are unwittingly using grey route traffic risk having their messages delayed or simply not delivered, which would be unacceptable for those using A2P for time-critical alerts or authentications," said Dr Windsor Holden, head of research and consulting at Juniper Research.

The market study findings also anticipated that although A2P text messages were likely to predominate in the medium term, and lower-cost OTT offerings were likely to pose a greater challenge by the end of the decade.

Juniper also observed that WhatsApp was currently developing a set of tools to create an enterprise solution, while Viber has already introduced an API for A2P messaging. Therefore, competition is likely to escalate over time, as more OTT messaging providers create and deliver new offerings.

Other findings from the study include:
  • Banking represents the most popular vertical for A2P messaging, with more than 1 billion consumers worldwide receiving notification services from their banks.
  • Mobile network operators need to ensure that have upgraded to next-generation filter systems capable of analyzing traffic flows, and hence identifying and blocking grey route traffic.

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