Understanding and Combating SMS Grey Routes and Frauds

Understanding and Combating SMS Grey Routes and Frauds

SMS Grey Routes

SMS grey routes are a specific type of messaging behaviour which includes sending text messages from a route that either the sender’s network, the recipient’s network, or both have not approved the statement. Typically, it violates the terms and conditions and interconnects agreements regarding commercial messaging set by the networks and sometimes third parties. Grey route traffic doesn’t directly harm mobile users as fraud does. Still, it disrupts the mobile ecosystem, leading to higher costs and a less seamless customer experience because of the measures taken to prevent it. 

What’s grey route traffic all about?

Grey route traffic is a fraudulent activity led by untrustworthy mobile operators. This scheme disguises A2P SMS messages charged at premium rates as P2P traffic. This enables the customers to take advantage of reduced rates. Consequently, the telecom providers responsible for delivering these messages via their network infrastructure don’t receive the compensation they should.

There exist three categories of grey route fraud:
  1. Operator to Operator
    In this situation, operator 1 and international operator 2 have a roaming agreement in place for regular person-to-person (P2P) messages. They agree not to charge each other because the incoming and outgoing message ratios are typically balanced. However, the issue arises when fraudulent operator two intentionally disguises commercial application-to-person (A2P) messages as P2P messages. This way, they receive compensation for these messages without paying any fees to the lawful operator 1.
  2. A2P Aggregators
    In this situation, telecommunications companies employ local A2P service providers in another country to bypass expensive roaming fees. Telecom A has partnered with a service provider that provides more favorable SMS rates with Telecom B for delivering A2P messages through SMPP routes. Telecom A avoids paying Telecom B the agreed market rate for message delivery.
  3. SIM Boxes
    These devices, often called ‘grey route traffic machines,’ exploit prepaid person-to-person (P2P) SIM cards. Some companies try to manipulate premium Application-to-Person (A2P) traffic sneakily. These SIM cards offer a lower cost per SMS than direct A2P telecom rates or include a certain number of complimentary messages as part of the package. The profit derived from the price difference, which is substantial, becomes an illicit gain for the individuals involved in the fraudulent activity.

Wrapping Up

Grey route traffic poses a challenge in SMS messaging, involving deceptive practices. Acmetel utilizes a robust SMS firewall to proactively monitor and block suspicious messaging patterns associated with grey routes. This messaging system ensures a secure and reliable environment, safeguarding against the risks of grey routes.

Our SMS firewall technology identifies unauthorized activities, upholding compliance in sender and recipient jurisdictions. It is a vital tool in preventing fraud and maintaining the integrity of SMS services. Acmetel’s commitment to combating grey routes ensures a dependable and cost-effective messaging experience for all users.

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