Omnichannel firewalls: The future for MNOs

John Murtagh

Senior Partner Products

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have experienced their fair share of challenges over the last few years. From high operating expenses to fraud prevention – finding the right balance between network efficiency and great user experience has been difficult.

And just when they think they have certain pieces of the puzzle figured out – new technology and tactics such as flash calls enter the market, making them rethink their strategies and processes.

Here we highlight current and future threats for mobile network operators and how the right solutions and partner can help overcome them.

Potential threats for MNOs

The way customers communicate is changing. And with these changes come new threats for mobile network operators. Read on to learn what MNOs should watch out for in the next few years.

Flash calls

We recently shared what a flash call is and how they work.

The positive side of flash calls is that they make for a smooth, efficient user experience that requires no effort from customers for certain use cases. They are also currently less expensive for brands or enterprises using them for two-factor authentication compared to application-to-person (A2P) SMS – since they’re not monetized by mobile network operators due to their zero-duration nature

Until recently, A2P SMS was the go-to solution for two-factor authentication. And this worked in favor of MNO revenue. Why? Because they could track business-to-consumer communication and the number of SMS messages sent and delivered. This makes it easier to charge enterprises using their service.

In fact, Juniper Research predicts that revenue from SMS messages used for authentication will reach $39 billion globally in 2022.

So, why do flash calls pose a threat to Mobile Network Operators?

The same report predicts that the number of flash calls will near 130 billion globally by 2026 – rising from less than 6 million in 2021.

Global number of flash calls for authentication

This means mobile network operators may lose a significant amount of potential revenue in the next five years if they don’t find a way to track and monetize flash calls alongside A2P SMS.

By default, a call is charged based on it being answered – which makes charging for missed calls a challenge. Additionally, A2P flash calls would need to be differentiated from person-to-person (P2P) missed calls.

Flash calls currently use international links and transit points and are neither more secure nor efficient than A2P SMS messages. In fact, flash calls today are open to abuse and may even be operated by fraudsters.

Omnichannel communication

As we mentioned earlier, customer communication isn’t what it used to be. It’s no longer limited to only voice and SMS – but has extended to almost every other channel that’s supported on a smartphone. MNOs need to start paying closer attention to the various types of traffic that passes through their network – from voice calls to SMS, MMS, and RCS messages.

With an increasing number of communication-platform-as-a-service (CPaaS), contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS), and unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) providers entering the market, mobile network operators need to equip themselves with solutions that enable them to be just as widely present and interconnected as the businesses that use this software.

Increased potential for fraud

Hackers and fraud threats are also rising. With flubot malware, bypass routes, and spam proliferation – MNOs as guardians for their subscribers need to prioritize fraud prevention as much as monetization.

The more customers communicate on different channels, the more room there is for hackers to intercept communication and hack accounts.

Monetizing threats with omnichannel firewalls

MNOs that want to overcome these threats and turn them into revenue-generating opportunities need to find solutions that can identify this traffic, as this is the only way they’ll be able to monetize it.

The answer? Omnichannel firewalls.

Most MNOs that support SMS traffic have an SMS firewall set up. It ensures the SMS traffic coming in is on the correct route and completes authorization checks to either let authorized sender content through or block it.

Extending your firewall to other channels such as Voice or MMS will enable you to do the same with that traffic.

If we look at flash calls as an example, you as an MNO can decide to either:

  • monetize SMS messages only and block flash calls
  • monetize flash calls alongside SMS messages with a voice or omnichannel firewall

There are two ways you can do this:

  1. Have your SMS firewall and Voice firewall set up as two separate systems
  2. Set up one firewall platform for all channels (Voice, SMS, MMS, RCS)

Choosing to set up an omnichannel firewall will help you simplify the complexity of extending your firewall capabilities while new channels enter the market. Having one platform for all channels will make it easier to track, monitor, and monetize incoming traffic – and most importantly, will help you prevent fraudulent activities.

Ultimately, it will ensure you remain agile and economical while business-to-consumer communication trends shift – and when your own business processes need to shift with them.

The Infobip advantage

Setting up a successful omnichannel firewall requires an experienced security solutions provider.

Until now, firewall providers have lacked the scale and global industry insights to offer the support that MNOs and their networks have needed.

Our team of network experts delivers technical, strategic, and commercial consultancy – leveraging global cross-industry insights and best practices from around the world.

  • 120 mobile networks supported
  • 20% of the world’s subscribers protected
  • 700+ direct mobile network connections
  • 1,000+ Telco product development engineers

Our A2P heritage, industry knowledge, and deep understanding of mobile networks mean we understand the needs of MNOs better than any other network infrastructure and security provider.

Ready to monetize your network? Talk to us!

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John Murtagh

Senior Partner Products