Choosing the Right A2P Messaging Platform for Service Providers

Finding an A2P messaging platform with scalable value

The communications world is evolving. The days of relying solely on email, voice, and face-to-face conversations in business landscapes have passed. Today, organizations rely on a host of different tools to engage consumers, improve collaboration, and achieve critical results.

A2P or application-to-person messaging, otherwise known as business or enterprise SMS, is quickly emerging as a valuable tool for companies in almost every industry. Through these secure messaging solutions, companies can reach contacts wherever they are with valuable content. Additionally, brands can enable two-way conversations with their customers, providing a new channel for service and support perfectly suited to the fast-paced digital age.

For service providers, A2P messaging represents a powerful opportunity to deliver exciting new capabilities to business users. In fact, by 2030, the A2P messaging market is set to reach a value of $96.73 billion, giving service providers a chance to unlock fantastic new streams of revenue.

The key to success starts with choosing the right A2P messaging platform.

Points to Consider When Choosing an A2P Messaging Platform

The right A2P messaging platform will deliver new revenue and growth opportunities to service providers, by tackling specific end-user needs, without compromising on security and performance. To find the right solution, service providers will need to consider several key factors.

1. Essential Functionality

While the exact needs of each service provider implementing A2P tools will vary, most companies will require a few essential features. For instance, every A2P platform should allow companies to send and receive high volumes of SMS messages via the SMPP protocol. However, some vendors may also need to seek out support for HTTP protocols and API solutions.

Some other core features to consider might include the following:

  • SS7 capabilities: SS7 solutions can provide companies with a variety of ways to manage traffic signalling between SS7 networks and applications. Users could use these tools to create scalable systems for roaming, USSD services, SMS, and location-based services.
  • Flexible billing: A platform with a built-in billing engine will make it easier to collect and process data for invoice generation. The same solution should provide support for setting up custom rates, delivering prices in multiple currencies, and even managing credit control.
  • SIP: Built-in SIP technology can facilitate the sending of SMS messages to IMS users, with added VoLTE convergence and additional capabilities to provide SMS services in a Wi-Fi-driven landscape.
  • Dynamic routing: An automatic solution for selecting the optimal route for every SMS message can assist service providers in improving service performance and reducing costs. Powerful routing algorithms give companies more freedom to set their own parameters for every need.

2. Flexible Setup and Deployment

First, the service provider should consider how they want to set up and deploy their A2P solution. Options could range from on-premises to cloud deployment. For many brands, the ideal solution will require an investment in very little or no additional hardware or software. It should also be scalable enough to adhere to changes in supplier and customer connections over time.

For companies with specific needs, it may even be helpful to search for a platform which offers expert guidance and support. For instance, some vendors can provide customized development services alongside their platform to assist with customization and growth. Other solutions may allow companies to implement their own customizations to the UI, with branding, logos and multiple language options.

Perhaps most importantly, any new technology implemented by a service provider should be designed with a focus on ease of use. Today’s companies need intuitive solutions with easy-to-understand graphical interfaces and convenient tools which allow them to accelerate their time to market. Implementing a global A2P solution should be as straightforward as possible, with plenty of support from a professional services team to assist teams every step of the way.

“We have seen many cases where clients purchased platforms that were not truly self-service based and for every rather simple change or modification a work order has to be placed with the vendor which causes a delay and comes with extra charges” says Kannan Natesan, Head of Product and Solutions at Cataleya.

3. Exceptional Management Capabilities

Management and administration features are often a core concern for any service provider implementing new technology. The right platform should come with a streamlined environment where companies can quickly access number management and assignment capabilities, reporting tools, and dedicated dashboards for tracking valuable analytics.

Leading A2P platforms offer end-to-end solutions where users can manage their data and set up crucial automation that improves workflows. They may include access to a range of options for setting up SMS campaigns, automatic notifications, and even authentication options (2FA) to keep conversations as secure and compliant as possible.

State-of-the-art A2P platforms include customer relationship management tools, so service providers can keep track of crucial information about partners and customers. They may also feature opportunities to set up custom client and enterprise portals with integrated branding and logos. Portals may include access to adjustable permissions, invoice and rate viewing systems, contact management, and online payment processing.

4. Reporting and Testing

To preserve the quality of the A2P experience for end users, service providers need to be able to test, monitor, and analyze their network. A good A2P platform will come with built-in tools for testing and analytics. For instance, testing tools can help companies to ensure messages are being delivered while pinpointing common issues with Sender IT, latency, and more.

Monitoring solutions allow brands to dive deeper into potential messaging problems, from low disk space to lack of memory and connection failures. These tools can ensure service providers can live up to their SLAs and retain more customers.

Additionally, analytics and reporting tools can provide business leaders with interactive, powerful insights designed to drive better business results and increase revenue. A2P platforms with reporting features built-in can help companies to track numerous crucial metrics, from SMS volume to total expenditure and revenue.

5. Redundancy and Security

Reliability and compliance are two additional concerns service providers should always consider when looking at A2P messaging platforms. The platform should always offer exceptional deliverability, with built-in redundancy solutions to help prevent unexpected downtime. Leading providers can offer real-time backup and failover solutions to keep SLAs on track.

Built-in security and privacy features can also ensure service providers deliver a better quality of service to their users. For instance, A2P platforms should always include secured HTTP and SMPP connections with built-in encryptions. Some providers can offer VPN server support with authorization keys to help ensure secured connections.

For service providers operating in a highly regulated industry, it might also be useful to examine whether the platform they’re considering is compliant with standards like GDPR, with tools to help with the logging and managing of data in secure ecosystems.