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The Definitive Guide to A2P SMS

6 min read

A2P SMS is the most pervasive channel for commercial communication. One of the biggest standouts of A2P messaging, is the incredible open rates. Research indicates that 90% of A2P messages are read within three minutes. The stickiness makes A2P SMS platforms the perfect vehicles to send time-sensitive messages to multiple customers on the fly.

What is A2P SMS?

So what exactly is A2P SMS? When businesses use a software to send messages to a person, it’s called Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging. Organisations can push bulk SMS to a predefined subscriber list through A2P messaging. These are generally unidirectional messages and are limited to commercial communication between enterprises and customers for promotional and transactional communications. A few examples of A2P SMS include two-factor authentications, OTPs (One Time Passwords), promotional alerts, reminders, automated booking confirmations and so on.

Over the years, the scope of A2P messaging has broadened to include service messaging, along with the traditional transactional and promotional communications. Today, A2P is used to automate personalised promotional campaigns, interactive services, bulk SMS and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) services. The growing availability of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) makes it easier and less expensive for enterprises to integrate SMS into existing customer facing platforms.

How does A2P messaging work?

The A2P SMS process primarily follows these three steps:

Step 1: Organisations must first find a trusted A2P messaging platform to send bulk or individual A2P messages. Tanla offers a fully-managed A2P SMS end-to-end business operation.

Step 2: The A2P messaging platform delivers A2P messages through a mobile network connection.

Step 3: Customers instantly receive the A2P messages on their device as a normal message.

What’s better for your business: P2P VS A2P

P2P (Person-to-Person) messaging is a conventional two-way conversation between people, unlike A2P where an application or interface sends messages to people. The main difference between P2P and A2P is that the former is not viable for businesses messaging.

P2P messages cannot handle large volumes and are not suited for commercial capacity. One message cannot reach thousand recipients at a shot. Whereas A2P SMS is built to handle; high volume spikes and meet large-scale business needs.

Security risks in the A2P ecosystem

Though A2P messaging has ample benefits; it also invariably creates a broader scope for fraud. The lack of barriers of entry are leading to an exponential increase in spam calls and messages and spread of fraudulent activities leading to financial losses. Grey routes still account for 47.7 per cent of the entire A2P SMS traffic network. The weak security measures ultimately affect the users’ experience and trust in the ecosystem.

Tanla A2P SMS messaging solution

Tanla’s A2P solutions ensures high-levels of security, resilient infrastructure and operations including invoicing, credit monitoring and collections. Geared with the most advanced technology, Tanla A2P SMS results in increased productivity across the messaging business value chain.

Key features:

  • Service configuration: Fully automated service configuration system for customer on-boarding and compliance management.
  • Intelligent/ priority routing: Routing allocation based on price, quality, nature of message and availability.
  • Credit management: Configure credits based on the account classification.
  • Retry configuration: Network level triggers to reach subscribers at the right time and deliver the messages sequentially, based on priority.
  • Template manager: Pre-approved templates with two level approval process.
  • Multi-part messages: New algorithm to ensure delivery of all parts of the messages in quick succession, ensuring that the end-user receives the message in a readable format.
  • Online CDR: Real-time CDR availability for all the traffic processed through Tanla SMSC.
  • Message monitoring and controlling: Keyword-based filter to block messages.
  • Reporting and analytics: Key performance metrics and detailed QoS metrics.

Mitigating security threats with Tanla A2P SMS Firewall

Tanla SMS Firewall is a robust telco-grade platform that effectively monitors SMS traffic, revenue leakage, spam, spoof, grey routes and other security issues. The SMS Firewall uses advanced filtering capabilities to plugs these loopholes in the telecom network.

  • Spam control: Block unsolicited SMS messages to subscribers
  • Spoof control: Stop messages illegally using a client operator’s SMSC
  • Fake control: Control messages where addresses are manipulated
  • Flooding: Block large amounts of messages to one or more destinations

How Tanla provides an advanced A2P SMS infrastructure

Tanla’s SMS Center (SMSC) is a proven, carrier-grade solution delivering industry-leading SMS performance, which scales to any size deployment. Tanla A2P messaging offers the best quality routing and delivery at the least cost. The messaging architecture is built and designed in-house to conform with open standard protocols.

Breaking down A2P monetisation

A2P messaging will remain an essential source of revenue for operators and enterprises alike. According to a Mobilesquared research, the A2P monetisation strategy will evolve from domestic and international A2P SMS, followed by phone number portability and verification information, Internet of Things, Machine to Machine (M2M) and lastly A2P messaging via operator-owned OTT apps.

The growing popularity of A2P messaging reflects a classic example of a ‘low margin high volume’ revenue model. The best A2P providers can provide organisations with cutting-edge A2P platform capabilities to monetise A2P messaging.

Tanla provides a complete A2P monetisation solution for operators to maximise the full potential of A2P messaging. Mobile operators can capitalise on hidden A2P revenue opportunities to enhance network performance, security and boost revenue growth.

A2P messaging is one of the most effective channels for customer engagement

Chalking up an effective A2P strategy helps organisations deliver content tailored according to customer preferences. Organisations can accordingly leverage this engaging channel to communicate promotional content, regularly update loyal customers about loyalty points balance, send OTP for account validation, etc. A well-planned A2P strategy is at the heart of customer-led businesses.

Analysing the A2P messaging traffic

A2P SMS is shooting up in popularity. Sectors such as Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI), drive the largest A2P traffic. The influx in mobile payments and banking applications have also contributed to the rise of the A2P market. Automated marketing, customer authentication and RCS are also spearheading growth in this front.

Total A2P Traffic by Sector


A2P players in the ecosystem

The global A2P messaging ecosystem includes enterprises, access providers, telemarketers, platform providers and developers, regulators and customers. The relationship of end-user with access providers and organisations is at the crux of establishing a trusted ecosystem.

Critical A2P players must work in harmony to sustain the growth of A2P messaging and accelerate innovation together. This interaction creates more opportunities to increase the profit margins, hone the value proposition and improve customer engagement.

  1. Access Providers: Basic telephone providers, cellular mobile telephone service providers, unified access service providers, universal access service provider and virtual network operator (VNO), all contribute towards value creation. These entities provide access to their customer base and offer their network services to A2P messaging platforms and other players.
  2. Telemarketers: Telemarketers act as gateways or intermediaries between companies and end users, and are responsible for collecting SMSs and other data to provide a centralised interface to users. They help enterprises from various industries such as retail, banking, e-commerce, etc. to deliver content seamlessly through multiple modes and reach their consumers. Telemarketers play an important role in filtering out unwanted information and effectively distributing tailored content.
  3. Platform providers and developers: Platform providers and developers design APIs and libraries and ensure seamless integration of SMS, push notifications, email, etc. They are responsible for maintaining the velocity, adaptability and agility of the ecosystem through digital technologies in the age of disruption. They manage the network interconnections and ensure they are interoperable with access for all players while performing black- and whitelisting activities that operators specify. Considering the outreach of the A2P SMS market and big data, providers use cloud computing to deploy a robust architecture and minimise hosting and security concerns.
  4. Enterprises: Benefits of commercial communication like ease of entry, adaptability, market reach and affordability have redesigned enterprises’ market strategies to create an immediate impact on the lives of customers at a global level. Enterprises leverage A2P to easily connect with target customers.
  5. Regulators: Regulators ensure that all the players maintain a code of conduct, follow best practices and maintain trust in the ecosystem. It is crucial for regulators to ensure that these communication channels are secure and transparent, commercially viable and protect consumers from fraud while delivering meaningful content with proper consent.
  6. Customers: Customer are the end recipient of the intended commercial communication from an enterprise. Customers are responsible for setting their preference and consent and communicating the same to their access providers.

A2P SMS messaging provides a myriad of advantages for organisations looking to reach a wider customer base or even bolster existing customer engagement. Businesses that prioritise A2P will see a massive bump in ROI and improvement in customer experience.