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SMSaaS Has Strong Future with Telcos As ‘Gatekeepers’- Pearson

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Short Messaging System (SMS) remains a key tool for reaching everyone with unmatched service guarantees and has a strong future, according to researchers at the World Telecoms Lab (WTL)

Although, the activities of Over-The-Top (OTT) content providers’ such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, are petering the revenue base of the telecommunication network providers and Value-Added Service (VAS), however, the researchers have projected that Telcos’ ability to function as the ‘gatekeepers’ will expose them to the next goldmine: SMS-as-a-Service (SMSaaS).  

The WTL’s report backs claims that “OTT apps, for all their consumer popularity, are still marginal in the A2P space. Operators still dominate”, thus, SMS retains the aura as an important service and unlike popular forms of IP messaging, it is genuinely ubiquitous.

Simon Pearson, business development director, World Telecom Labs told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that SMS has levels of service performance that are simply not available from common IP-based solutions, which are typically closed-user communities.

“So even while IP messaging has grown in popularity between individuals, there’s no getting away from the fact that SMS provides a means to reach everyone. In particular, it also helps businesses communicate more effectively with their customers. It’s the only way in which they can reach all mobile users in their markets.

“As such, SMS is a premium service. It offers a degree of trackability, reliability and service quality that is simply not available with other messaging solutions. This provides an unrivalled set of service guarantees, which form the foundation of enterprise partnerships. A messaging service provider with access to SS7 network infrastructure can offer a level of service to its business partners that is far beyond the best effort that might be attainable by another messaging platform.

“SMS provides a reassuringly comprehensive way to enable businesses to reach their customers, whether for the purposes of order acknowledgements, service updates or for promotional purposes. For different verticals, such as logistics, catering, tourism, banking, retail, and more, it is a secure, reliable channel to reach customers.

 As such – and contrary to many expectations – while P2P SMS may be in decline, A2P SMS is growing. SMS services that are targeted towards the needs of businesses that need to keep in touch with their customers represent a growth opportunity and one that can help offset declining or stagnant voice margins. The great thing about SMS is that, unlike popular forms of IP messaging, it’s genuinely ubiquitous. If you have a mobile, then you can send and receive SMS to anyone else who has a mobile, regardless of the type of device or the generation of mobile technology it supports. Put simply,” the WTL report reads.

The report is also backed by comments by Jay Emmett, General manager, OpenMarket at the Mobile World Congress 2017 who reminded the telcos and industry experts that SMS is the only channel that is ubiquitous, immediate and universally understood.

“I don’t want a conversation with a bot,” he said. “I want to have a transaction. I don’t even like the word chat bot. I prefer ‘service bot’. If I have a car quote, that’s nine questions. That’s what I want. Not a conversation.”

Nodding in agreement David Vigar, Director of strategic carrier partnerships, Nexmo, said: “What will drive enterprise messaging is how they consumers interact with each other. So they might want to start a conversation on Twitter but then get reply somewhere else. It’s hard to do this without the context being lost, but that’s what we should be working on.”

Speaking on what telcos should focus on, Pearson told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek it implies “don’t get distracted by new, glamourous services with unproven revenue models and lose focus on something that works”. We believe there is a market for telcos and value-added operators to leverage their existing interconnects and subscriber bases.

“An operator can approach corporate customers (banks, airlines etc) and offer them packages that allow them to address their clients very directly. I have noticed that my local hospital, dentist and even the garage all send me SMS these days to remind me about appointments.

From the telco perspective access to this audience is valuable and they are kind of the only people that have it (they can be the ‘gatekeepers’ to the SMS world if you like)”.

 

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NCC Hosts UNODC, Vows to Sustain Collaborations Against Cybercrimes

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) will continue to collaborate with other government agencies and international partners towards stemming the tide of cybercrimes.

Mr Sunday Dare, NCC’s executive commissioner, Stakeholder Management, stated this on recently at the Commission’s Headquarters during an interactive session with representatives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC.

Kamal Toure, the UNODC eLearning Project Officer and Patrick Boismenu, cybercrime expert, were at the Commission’s Headquarters as part of their assessment mission to West Africa to gauge how well Nigeria, Senegal and the Gambia are able to fight cybercrime.

Mr. Dare noted that the Commission performs its regulatory functions in a way that ensures that its licensees take the steps necessary to combat cybercrimes.

He explained that “The role of the NCC here is to do an audit and make sure that we have all the ISPs having active databases and meeting the six months (data retention requirement) as stipulated in the license provision.”

Responding, Patrick Boismenu stated that UNODC is willing to provide assistance in needed areas to ensure that ISPs comply with requirements for data retention because of the crucial role data plays in fighting cybercrimes.

“Our goal is to ensure that cybercrime investigators have access to the tools they need to do their work,” Mr Boismenu explained.

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TCP: NCC Says Consumer Satisfaction, Robust Sector Top Priorities

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By Ugo Onwuaso

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is determined to carry out its regulatory functions to ensure that the companies operating in the industry were healthy.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, the executive vice chairman of the Commission, made the remark during the 81st edition of the Telecoms Consumer Parliament (TCP) held in Lagos.

He added that “it has taken steps to ensure that the telecommunications sector remains vibrant”.

Mr. Sunday Dare, the executive commission, Stakeholders Management, NCC, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman, said that “the commission would carry out its regulatory functions to ensure that the companies operating in the industry were healthy”.

The Chairman said that the regulatory body had made interventions to prevent disruptions in the consumer’s experience.

According to him, “NCC has commenced aggressive enforcement of the Code of Corporate Governance to ensure that licensees in the industry continue to operate as viable businesses.

“The consumer deserves all the credits for the past and indeed the future successes of this industry.

“The Nigerian telecommunications consumers are at the centre stage of our regulation.

“We at the NCC, being consumer centric regulatory organisation have decided to celebrate consumers of the Nigerian telecommunications industry consistent with the eight point agenda that I set out when I assumed office in 2015.

The number two and six items of the agenda are the core drivers of the NCC year of telecommunications consumer initiative.

“While the number two item of the agenda addresses improved quality of service.

And item six is concerned with protection and empowerment of the telecommunications consumers,” he said.

He also stated that all NCC’s initiatives such as SIM card registration, Mobile Number Portability, Broadband policy implementation, development of 2442 and 622 short codes as well as various consumer awareness campaigns were to ensure consumer satisfaction and protection.

Danbatta added that the commission would continue to look out for and protect the interest of the consumer without compromising the interests of other stakeholders in the industry.

Mr Abdullahi Maikano, director, Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) of NCC, said that over the years, TCP had proven to be an innovative way of bringing all stakeholders together to discuss and proffer solutions to industry issues.

Maikano said that the TCP had continued to occupy a pride of place in the commission’s activities.

He said that NCC would continue to provide significant resources to ensure that the parliament is held regularly for the benefit of consumers and the industry.

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Banks’ Working for Early Sale of 9Mobile — Fidelity Bank Boss

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Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, managing director of Fidelity Bank Plc, has said that all the banks whose money is trapped are working together for smooth sale of the telecoms on or before the end of the year.

This is as the 180 days’ window handed down to the receiver managers of 9Mobile draw nearer.

Explaining industry issues in a recent interactive session with select editors and publishers in Lagos, he said “As you are aware, the creditor banks came together to appoint a new Board and Management for the company, with the Deputy Governor of the CBN as chairman of the Board”.

“The company has good fundamentals with about 22 million subscribers, and it is also very strong in data. Our interest is to ensure the company remains a going concern so that it can attract interested buyers. The banks are working collectively on this,” Fidelity bank chief executive revealed.

It would recalled that at the heat of the $1.2bn syndicated loan default crisis which nearly grounded the former Etisalat, both the telecoms regulator and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), considered the volume of subscribers and intervened.

Part of the intervention was the appointment of Dr. Joseph Nnanna, former Deputy Governor of the CBN to head the chair the board and prepare it for potential investors between 90 to 180 days.

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