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Safeguarding against cybersecurity threats and messaging fraud is paramount for the telecoms industry, none more so than roaming managers and the wholesale messaging community.

Paul Kavanagh, Chief Revenue Officer at Openmind Networks, outlines the necessity of prioritizing clean networks, trust in international traffic, and fair termination rates for sustainable growth in the industry.

As the global telecommunications industry continues to evolve, the importance of cybersecurity and fraud prevention cannot be overstated. This is particularly true for the international wholesale messaging community and roaming managers who play a pivotal role in ensuring that messaging internationally is clean and trusted.

I was delighted to join fellow Openmind Networks team members at the WAS #18 conference, hosted by GSMA and Infobip, in Šibenik, Croatia last month. It was a fantastic event, and a great opportunity to catch up with customers and industry leaders.

In the world of roaming and wholesale messaging, there’s often an unspoken truth: fraud traffic can bring in revenue. However, it’s crucial for us as a community of professionals to recognize that relying on fraudulent activity is not a sustainable or ethical path forward. 

Instead, our focus should be on maintaining clean networks and fostering trust in international traffic. By doing so, we not only protect our businesses’ reputation and integrity but also encourage legitimate growth in the industry. 

Simultaneously, we must advocate for fairer international termination rates. A level playing field will enable our businesses to flourish without the revenue stream of fraudulent traffic. This will ensure a healthier and more sustainable future for all involved. It’s a collective responsibility we owe to our industry and its stakeholders.

Let’s take a look at some of the more prevalent fraud types and how we, as an industry, can stop them.

International Premium Rate Number Fraud

International Premium Rate Number Fraud (IPRN) has long been a concern in the telecommunications industry. It involves fraudulent schemes where scammers exploit premium rate termination fees to generate revenue at the expense of unsuspecting subscribers. These scams often involve the use of deceptive practices to trick individuals into making premium rate calls or sending premium rate messages.

For the wholesale messaging community, addressing IPRN fraud requires a multi-faceted approach.

Firstly, implementing robust traffic monitoring and analysis tools can help detect unusual patterns or spikes in premium rate traffic. By leveraging machine learning and AI-driven algorithms, anomalies can be identified in real-time, enabling swift action to block fraudulent traffic. Furthermore, establishing strict partnerships and agreements with service providers to validate phone numbers and main clean number registries can be instrumental in mitigating IPRN fraud.

Artificially Inflated Traffic in Messaging

Artificially inflated traffic in messaging, often referred to as “AIT,” is another major concern for the wholesale messaging community. This type of fraud involves automated systems or bots that artificially inflate message volumes, leading to increased costs for service providers and decreased quality of service for end-users.

To combat AIT, wholesale messaging providers should invest in advanced fraud detection and prevention systems. These systems can identify unusual patterns in messaging traffic, such as a sudden surge in messages from a particular source or destination. Additionally, implementing verified registries and rate limiting measures can deter automated bots from overwhelming messaging networks.

Communication icon prsenting a set of satelites around the globe connected to each other

Grey Route Traffic and SIM Farms

Grey Route Traffic and SIM farms are significant challenges that impact the integrity of messaging networks. Grey routes refer to routes that bypass official channels and carry messaging traffic outside of established agreements. SIM farms, on the other hand, involve the use of large numbers of SIM cards to send a high volume of messages, often for fraudulent purposes.

To address these issues, the wholesale messaging community must establish strict routing policies and agreements with operators to minimize the use of grey routes. Implementing real-time monitoring and analytics can help detect and block grey route traffic. Additionally, collaborating with local authorities to crack down on SIM farm operations can be crucial in mitigating this type of fraud.

Smishing Attacks

Smishing, a portmanteau of “SMS” and “phishing,” is a growing concern in the world of cybersecurity. Smishing attacks involve sending fraudulent SMS messages to individuals, often with the aim of tricking them into revealing sensitive information or clicking on malicious links.

Wholesale messaging providers can protect their networks and subscribers from smishing attacks by implementing SMS filtering and content analysis solutions. These tools can identify and block suspicious messages, preventing them from reaching end-users. Additionally, educating subscribers about the risks of smishing and advising them on how to verify the authenticity of messages can go a long way in preventing successful smishing attacks.


The international wholesale messaging community and roaming managers must remain vigilant in the face of evolving cybersecurity threats and fraud schemes. As technology advances, so do the tactics employed by cybercriminals. To protect their networks and subscribers, the wholesale and roaming community must adopt a proactive approach, leveraging advanced technologies such as machine learning, AI, and real-time monitoring to detect and mitigate fraud in all its forms.

As we reflect on GSMA‘s WAS #18 event in Croatia, it is an opportune time for industry stakeholders to come together, share best practices, and explore innovative solutions to combat cyber threats and fraud. By working collaboratively and staying ahead of emerging risks, the wholesale messaging community can continue to provide reliable and secure communication services to individuals and businesses worldwide. The year ahead promises to be challenging, but with the right strategies in place, the industry can navigate these challenges successfully and ensure a safer and more secure digital future for all.

To learn more about the topics covered in this article, or to discuss how Openmind Networks can protect your core messaging network, please get in touch at or contact our team of experts online here.

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