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5 Fundamentals to selecting an A2P provider

- 5 MIN READ - 18 Jul 2017

Making an informed and educated decision when choosing a messaging partner requires navigation in the application-to-person (A2P) ecosystem. Asking the right questions early is the basis for avoiding costly mistakes and having a strong partnership. These five fundamental features will help you build a framework for asking questions and guide a structured conversation when shopping for an A2P vendor

Deliverability

Common questions buyers ask: What is your delivery rate? Can I reach any customer, on any network?

No messaging provider can legitimately offer a 100% guarantee that messages will reach your customers. Delays and failed messages may happen for reasons outside of the control of a provider. For example, your customer’s phone is switched off, or they are without any mobile coverage, so message may be delayed until the handset can be located. If the handset cannot be located for an extended period of time, i.e., after six hours, a message may fail completely.

To communicate with your customers, the message needs to reach the network operator to which your customer is subscribed. The message may have to hop via different parties once it leaves your messaging provider. That’s why the key to high deliverability is having a provider which has quality and reliable connections available to different network operators.

Legality and Compliance

Common questions buyers ask: Are there any specific rules to be aware of in country x or y?

Almost every country has specific restrictions and rules set through legislation or a regulatory authority for A2P messaging. When a provider is not complying, whether negligent or deliberate, it can result in the immediate suspension of a service by a network operator. This means the loss of messages somewhere along the route, or even enforced actions.

Restrictions and regulations are applied for different reasons. For example, some legislation permits certain content, like political or religious. Other rules limit the timeframe of delivering business-related messages. In Brazil, using SIM Boxes for A2P messaging is considered as a federal crime.

Brand Protection

Common questions buyers ask: Is the data protected? How are you using the data?

Consumers and brands alike are at risk if the data is not properly managed. Yet one has to keep in mind that it’s a two-way street. The A2P provider must clearly state terms and conditions, as well as the privacy policy. However well-intentioned the buyer, not properly managing their customers’ personal data can lead to a spam classification, and messages will not be correctly delivered. Even worse, involvement of partners within a delivery chain, who are unknown, or not authorized, leaves the buyer vulnerable to data theft.

Performance

Common questions buyers ask: How long will it take for messages to reach my customers? How are my messages being displayed? How many messages can I send at once?

Performance depends on your needs. An authentication message requires a higher prioritization and faster delivery time than a marketing campaign. Clients have the option to set prioritization criteria and maximum delivery times depending on the message category.

Formatting is essential for readability. Unauthorized connections increase the odds of distorting your message and your intended format may be lost.

Throughput or a provider’s processing speed (i.e., 30 SMS per sec.) to a certain network is important when sending in bulk. If the throughput is low, messages are queued and delayed. This can lead to expiring messages, as they don’t leave your provider’s system in time.

Price

Common question buyers ask: How much will it cost me?

A2P messaging is a low cost and effective way to interact with your customers. However, as in any other service, all parties within the messaging ecosystem require reimbursement for their work. Most notable is the price charged to terminate your messages to the customer’s phone handled by the network operators. These rates are commercially negotiated by the provider and network operator, but they tend to be regulated as well.

Hence, delivery of messages to different countries means different prices. An indication of the legality of a solution is to compare the price you are negotiating with your messaging provider against the termination fees applicable in a certain country, or offered by the terminating network operator. If the price you are being offered is below the set rate for a country, investigate the reason. 

Joosep Merelaht

Joosep Merelaht - Key account manager

At Messente, Joosep works alongside key customers to provide them with tailor made solutions. He is passionate in helping our customers to develop and expand their businesses.

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