Operators are losing out on at least $15 billion worth of A2P SMS revenues, according to new research.

A2P messaging, which is used by enterprises for a range of use cases to enter into dialogue with customers, is a $55 billion market today, according to vendor Dialogue Communications, which is also making the $15 billion claim.

It will grow to become a $70 billion market in 2020, Dialogue said, citing claims from multiple sources.

However, the vendor noted that some SMS message aggregators are using so-called grey routes, which bypass operator network charges.

These increase the margins that the aggregators can make from enterprise customers but lead to significant revenue leakage for operators.

Analysis of tests Dialogue carried out on 199 mobile networks in 84 countries earlier this year found that just 23 percent of them showed no bypass activity.

Dialogue Founder and CEO Hugh Spear commented: “There are some firms out there that are effectively cheating the operators but also cheating their customers.”

Spear said grey routes increase the chance of non-delivery of messages, provide a safe haven for spammers, and risk damaging the brand reputation of enterprises and operators.

Speaking at an event in London, Dialogue also suggested that some operators are turning a blind eye to the grey route problem as they are happy with the revenue stream they get.

Some enterprises, meanwhile, have “differing levels of ethics”.

Grey routing is not illegal, but Dialogue intimated that the industry lacks both understanding of the problem and is somewhat compromised.

The GSMA, for example, counts SMS message aggregators as members although Dialogue said the industry body was “strongly in favour” of resolving the grey route problem.

“Identifying the grey routes, blocking those messages and forcing them into the controlled network should be a priority for operators,” Spear said.

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