• Daniel Gill

Can enterprises really get any form of quality assurance with SMS?

For almost anyone, SMS seems terribly boring in comparison to much of the tech world today, being, relatively speaking, a very old technology, and known as unreliable, yet as a product, it’s booming almost despite itself.


Year on Year, SMS has grown by 7%, and when I last checked, about 2.5 trillion messages had been sent from Enterprises to their customers over the last year…..or had they? And this is where the question of the reliability of SMS comes in. Over 125m of those messages never got to their intended target.


Is SMS unreliable?


Well, it depends. SMS is only as reliable or unreliable as the company that is terminating the messages.


The problem with SMS is not the product, it is more often the product provider that is the point of failure in the flow of an SMS getting from an application to individual customers.

SMS has become the wild west of Telecoms due to its booming popularity and a result has become flooded with snake oil salesmen promising the world. But the old adage still holds true, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” If you are paying next to nothing for SMS, the likelihood is you’re getting almost nothing as a service. The provider in these cases is using every trick in the book to make margins on an unrealistic selling price, which include killing a percentage of the traffic and sending via SIM farms (not GDPR compliant and barely legal). Often a lot of reputable aggregators and their customers don’t even know this is going on because fake delivery receipts are being sent out to cover for any traffic being killed, and the honest aggregator simply passes this receipt onto their customer.


Should we all be using MNOs?


One way to take reliability issues out of the SMS conversation would be to simply connect to every MNO directly. However, for any Enterprise customer, and for a lot of aggregators this is impractical from a logistical point of view.


But it also would not work from a price point of view. SMS is already expensive, and without the necessary volumes, most MNOs tend to make it even more so. In fact, most MNOs seem to discourage companies from connecting directly to them simply because they don’t want to deal with customers whose volumes are under a certain threshold, and even for those who do meet that threshold, they are then met with a tiered system which rewards the companies with the biggest volumes with the lowest prices.


So how do you bring quality assurance into SMS?


If we extrapolate the above scenario then using an aggregator that has been able to gain big enough volumes that they are on the cheapest rate with the MNO seems like the most sensible solution from a price perspective. But it does not solve the quality assurance problem. They may still be guilty of some of the issues mentioned above or even the unwitting victim of them.


Gaining quality assurance around SMS involves one point all customers need to accept as a given – going cheap is false saving because a significant percentage of all messages are not going to be delivered. By accepting this and discounting those offering the cheapest rates on the market, one filters out a lot of the companies with questionable working practices.


The next step is to ask three important questions, which, depending on the enterprise, vary in importance. Can you give me data on latency? (Which is of essential importance for One-Time Passwords (OTPs) and Two-Fact Authentication) Can you give me real delivery metrics that can detect fake delivery receipts? Are you GDPR compliant? (If they say yes, then they are not using SIM farms, which jeopardize the security of the message being sent).


Once all these factors have been taken into consideration and the answer to all of the above has been yes. That is when you can safely tick the box that says quality assurance guaranteed. Augnet has developed a proprietary testing technology that measures SMS delivery quality across the world and feeds large amounts of data into the routing algorithm that chooses the delivery route for our clients, so they can rest assured they are not being victims to damaging tricks.

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