A2P SMS – behind this seemingly complicated term lies a very simple meaning: SMS sent by applications to people. A2P is short for “application to person”.
Everyone knows them: appointment reminders from the doctor, the security code of a website or a TAN from your bank. A2P SMS are an important mobile communication channel for companies to reach customers and employees. They are inexpensive, universally applicable, reliable and fast. The special features of A2P SMS make the application interesting for various industries, including retail, media, Internet, telecommunications, banking, finance, travel and hospitality.
Communication with the customer
A2P SMS can be used to create a direct communication channel to the customer. This is especially true for existing customers. Discount codes can be sent as part of a loyalty campaign, information about exclusive offers can be passed on to specific customers. Customer loyalty can also be actively promoted by A2P SMS. Companies and public institutions that work on an appointment basis (e.g. public offices, doctors’ surgeries) can remind customers of existing appointments, suggest new appointments or point out approaching deadlines. Especially in the area of online delivery services, arrival times, updates and delays can be communicated easily via SMS.
The omnipresent threat of cybercrime
A2P SMS are of special benefit to companies that have sensitive, personal data about their customers that can be accessed by customers. Almost every online service we use today requires the creation of user accounts and passwords as well as the provision of personal data. The protection of these data must be a top priority for every company in order to remain a trustworthy partner for the customer.
Two-factor authentication – a security measure to which A2P SMS contributes significantly – is an important part of defence against cybercrime. Without two-factor authentication, personal data and accounts are seriously compromised, and our private data and financial information is easily accessible to criminals. Also because of this important contribution to online security, A2P SMS continues to be a growth market, expected to grow at around 4% per year until 2025.
What is two-factor authentication (2FA)?
Two-factor authentication involves sending one-time passwords and other codes, such as bank transfer TANs, to a customer’s mobile phone number. This means adding an additional layer of security to all critical transactions and reducing the likelihood of a cyber security hack.
Large companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon use this SMS service to protect their customers and their transactions.
Examples of the sensible use of such an SMS service are:
- Login or Initial Registration: When a customer creates an account or logs into an account, authentication via an SMS gateway ensures that they are the “right” one. For user accounts that contain sensitive data, additional authentication via an A2P SMS gateway is recommended. Especially in e-commerce, where almost all relevant contact data – including account data – of a customer are available, the setup of an SMS service is an important contribution to security.
- Payments: For privacy purposes, companies may insist that a 2FA be performed before a customer can make payments or purchases. In this way, fraud can be virtually eliminated.
- Loss of passwords: If a password is forgotten, a code can be sent to a stored phone number, which must then be entered to reset the corresponding password. This prevents passwords from simply being reset via the customer’s email address – after all, email accounts are very easy to hack.
- Sensitive Cloud Data: Access to sensitive data stored in clouds can also be restricted to authorized persons. This is an important contribution to tomorrow’s corporate security, as more and more corporate data will be available online in the future so that it can be accessed from anywhere. Such data must be protected accordingly, and the establishment of an SMS service can support exactly this.
Good service providers are essential for success
Two-factor authentication is only successful if the SMS reaches its destination while the user is performing a transaction. In order to ensure this necessity, the SMS must reach its recipient within a few seconds – worldwide. Reliable service providers can ensure that an SMS API connection is simple and secure, and that the service is fast and trouble-free. This also requires that the service provider has a direct connection to one of the renowned network providers (so-called Tier 1 Carrier), as otherwise SMS only reaches the customer via many detours.
It seems that many companies still lack awareness of the importance of a reliable provider of A2P-SMS services. Surveys among managers have shown that 67% of respondents consider the price of the service to be the deciding factor for A2P SMS services. The quality of the service was rated as less important overall. Renowned providers for a qualitative and cheap A2P SMS service can now realize prices below 6 cents per sent SMS, worldwide, instant and including their own branding.