A2P Messaging: Security Changes in the Telecommunications Industry

by | Apr 23, 2024 | PPC

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), text message open rates are approximately 98%.[1] The organization also reported that aggregate losses attributed to text fraud are on the rise, jumping from $131M in 2021 to $330M in 2022.[1] In response, the Federal Communication Commission has adopted some sweeping rule changes designed to curb the abuse of application-to-person (A2P) messaging. The new A2P messaging regulations are set to impact the telecommunications sector profoundly.

A2P messaging has seen exponential growth driven by its widespread use in marketing, notifications, customer service, and multi-factor authentication. If your organization relies on application-to-person messaging solutions, it’s vital to familiarize yourself with these recent changes and how they are going to change the way you interact with consumers.

What’s Happening to A2P Messaging?

On February 23, 2023, the FCC released a detailed fact sheet[2] outlining the changes it is implementing. Here are a few highlights:

Written Consent

Before you engage in A2P SMS messaging, your business must obtain written approval from the intended recipient. While many companies already do this, it adds a layer of complexity to managing A2P SMS communication platforms. You must obtain consent and retain records of each person’s decision to protect your business from liability and accusations of wrongdoing.

Clear Identification

To help mobile network operators monitor traffic, the FCC has also added clear identification requirements to its text message rules. Whether delivering appointment reminders or providing real-time updates to customers about their packages, it’s essential to state the name of your business.

Opt-Out Clarity

Under the new rules, terminating A2P SMS traffic must be relatively easy. Your communications platform must provide recipients with a simple opt-out process so they can unsubscribe from your messages.

Limitations on Auto-Dialing

The FCC has imposed increased restrictions on auto-dialing as well. These alterations also aim to prevent messaging fraud and improve overall A2P security.

Challenges These Changes Seek to Address

The FCC’s changes are significant and far-reaching, leading to one central question: what issues are they trying to resolve? Some specific problems that the FCC hopes to address with these changes include:

Grey Routes

In the context of A2P messaging, grey routes refer to channels used to send applications to personal communications at reduced rates or even for free. They bypass the official, often more expensive, routes that carriers and service providers sanction. These routes exploit loopholes in the billing systems of telecommunications networks and are not explicitly authorized by the network operators for A2P traffic.

Grey routes involve routing messages through countries with lower messaging fees using SIM farms (collections of SIM cards) to send messages at person-to-person (P2P) rates instead of higher A2P rates or by leveraging other network vulnerabilities. The true concern about grey routes is that they involve risks such as:

  • Lack of quality assurance
  • Security concerns
  • Potential for carrier blacklisting

The proposed FCC rule changes will help carriers and service providers prevent grey routing while discouraging unscrupulous behavior from otherwise legitimate businesses.

A2P Messaging Fraud

As mentioned above, text messaging fraud has run rampant in recent years, and the problem only seems to worsen. Once fully implemented, the FCC’s new regulations should make it easy for consumers to differentiate between legitimate messages and communications from fraudsters.

Admittedly, the new changes are only part of the equation for solving fraud. Successfully addressing this issue will require collaboration between telecommunications brands, regulatory authorities, and consumers.

Issues With Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Many organizations use two-factor or multi-factor authentication processes to help protect their customers. Overall, these tools have greatly benefited the fight against fraud. However, false spam flags and other confusion among consumers regarding legitimate messages can lead to some 2FA communications getting lost in the A2P quagmire.

Businesses need to keep using 2FA processes, and consumers need to be able to receive their verification codes consistently and on time. The FCC rule changes should help with both these issues.

Why the Changes Matter

The recent A2P messaging security changes will significantly impact your daily life. Hopefully, they’ll also make life a whole lot easier for consumers. The following is what consumers and your business can expect from these regulatory updates.

The Consumer Impacts

For consumers, the security changes mean fewer unwanted calls, texts, and emails. On a broader scale, many consumers may be less susceptible to fraud. They will have an easier time differentiating a legitimate from an illegitimate message, which is a game-changer.

Moreover, A2P recipients can confidently communicate with brands they frequently do business with, such as their favorite e-commerce sites and financial institutions. Taking the guesswork out of reading and responding to A2P messages will elevate the consumer experience.

The Business Impacts

Adapting to rule changes, especially those as broad and far-reaching as the FCC’s proposed updates can be challenging. You may have to upgrade your call-tracking technologies and reimagine your opt-in and opt-out processes. However, these changes will provide a net positive for your organization.

For starters, you can ensure that your legitimate communications are less likely to be flagged as spam. In turn, you’ll enjoy better engagement rates and improved trust with your audience. When reaching out to new customers or high-quality leads, you can immediately establish your brand as legitimate and trustworthy.

What’s Next?

All that is left to do is prepare your organization and team for these changes to A2P messaging rules. One great way to do that involves adopting a call tracking and monitoring solution that promotes compliance. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to use one of Full Circle SEM’s preferred platforms, CallTrackingMetrics:

Create an Account

First, create an account with CallTrackingMetrics. You can also partner with Full Circle SEM and let our team configure the system for you. As a full-service partner, we handle everything from implementation and integration to ongoing optimization. Our goal is to alleviate the burden of compliance so you can focus on more important things, like building your business.

Go to the Trust Center

After you’ve got an account, select “Numbers” and then head to the “Trust Center.” From here, you need to click the “Add Compliance” button. All these tabs should be on the left side of your screen.

That’s one of the reasons Full Circle SEM loves CallTrackingMetrics. It’s incredibly user-friendly and loaded with tools to help you better manage your A2P messaging.

Add Compliance Info

For this next part, you’ll need detailed information about your business. This information must match what’s on file with the IRS. At a minimum, you will need to list your:

  • Official business name
  • Type of business (LLC, Corporation, etc.)
  • Industry type
  • EIN
  • Regions you operate within
  • Your website address

You can also link to your social media pages, but it’s not necessary to do so. Then, click “continue” and provide business address details, including your street, city, state, country, and zip code.

Agree to the Rules and Submit

Finally, you’ll be prompted to review the rules listed on the platform, agree, and submit your information. It might take a few days for the platform to approve your business. Just check back periodically to ensure you don’t miss the notification.

Assign Numbers

After receiving a notice that you are approved, go back to “Numbers” and “Trust Center.” Select “Use” from the list of options and pick which business numbers you want to use for your calls and A2P messaging. During this process, make sure to use the “default” option to make things easier. Review your default selections and ensure that you’ve entered all numbers correctly. That’s it — you’re ready to go.

Embrace Change With Full Circle SEM

The A2P messaging updates are going to present some challenges. However, they will also bring about new opportunities to enhance the customer experience and position your business as an organization that values its audience.

If you would like to learn more about how Full Circle SEM can help you adapt to these changes while simultaneously elevating your marketing capabilities, contact our team. We look forward to helping you achieve your growth goals.



[1] https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/data-visualizations/data-spotlight/2023/06/iykyk-top-text-scams-2022

[2] https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-391239A1.pdf

Justin Ober

Justin built his first website and eBay store while in high school (circa 1999) and has had a hand in internet marketing ever since. After graduating from Penn State University he headed for warmer weather in sunny South Florida, where he worked on both the client and agency side of digital marketing. Yada, yada, yada, he's since managed over $30 million in digital ad spend and is an expert in all things PPC.

If you’re ready to take your brand to the next level, call 888-757-2714 or contact us here today.