Behind the Platform: Carrier Relations

Meet Luca Sacanna, Head of Carrier Relations at Mitto. On a day-to-day basis, Luca oversees Mitto’s Carrier Relations operations from our Italian offices. Also on an almost day-to-day basis, Luca […]

Meet Luca Sacanna, Head of Carrier Relations at Mitto. On a day-to-day basis, Luca oversees Mitto’s Carrier Relations operations from our Italian offices. Also on an almost day-to-day basis, Luca travels the globe to meet with industry colleagues, peers, and partners. We recently caught up with Luca during PTC 2024, in sunny Hawaii, where he shared his insights and experiences on the complexities of A2P messaging, the innovative strides Mitto is making in this space, and his vision for the telecommunications industry’s future. Watch (or read) and learn more!

 

 

Can you break down what being the Head of Carrier Relations at Mitto actually entails?

 

The Carrier Relations team is essentially responsible for daily operations and managing long-term projects with special suppliers connected to Mitto. These suppliers assist Mitto in achieving success in the communication messaging business. When we refer to these special suppliers, we are primarily talking about Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), which are mobile carriers from various countries around the world with which we conduct business. Additionally, other special suppliers could include telecom authorities, local regulators, etc. Essentially, these are the partners, distinct from standard wholesale aggregator suppliers, that enable Mitto to successfully deliver messages.

 

Looking into your crystal ball, where do you see A2P messaging heading in the next few years?

 

That’s a very big question, actually. For example, here at this [PTC] conference, I’ve been talking to many mobile operators, and they’ve been asking me the same thing. And, honestly, our industry is so dynamic that it’s really impossible to make any kind of forecast more than six months out. What I can imagine right now is that, thinking of the next one or two years, the overall ecosystem is attempting to tackle several challenges. For instance, the average price of an SMS is increasing significantly worldwide, and there are issues related to artificially inflated traffic, which Mitto is vigorously fighting because they pose a real danger to our business. 

Additionally, OTTs are beginning to use other applications for their authentication processes, etc. So, OTTs and large enterprises are now more actively looking for alternative communication channels, even though SMS is still considered the most secure authentication and communication channel, as voice and email are not as secure. So, SMS remains the best option.

Even if it is a legacy and old technology, SMS is still the safest technology for achieving direct communication with a customer, ensuring that the communication is indeed reaching that customer. 

Perhaps in the overall A2P market, the international A2P traffic might reach a certain threshold where it will stop growing. Some OTTs might start to decrease volume or explore other alternatives. But at the same time, it is such an important service that I believe the continuous increases in the domestic A2P market, especially in developing countries, will keep growing. So, it will probably balance out the decrease in international traffic. This is my guess at least right now. But if you ask me again in six months, I will probably have a different view.

 

What’s been your most challenging project at Mitto and how did you tackle it?

 

One of the most challenging projects we’ve undertaken began just over a year ago, aiming to combat the widespread issue of artificially inflated traffic (AIT) across the market. This issue is particularly troubling as it undermines the confidence that OTT players and large enterprises place in SMS, associating it, unfortunately, with potential fraudulent activities. This perception threatens to diminish the value of SMS services, which are inherently secure and reliable. Our goal is to preserve the integrity of SMS communication by identifying and mitigating fraudulent behaviors.

Over the past year, largely through internal efforts, we have developed tools, routines, and processes to closely monitor the flow of messages through our platform. We’ve focused on analyzing traffic, creating reports that correlate sender IDs, number ranges, and traffic peaks, and tracking both customers and suppliers associated with suspicious activities. The objective of these efforts is to swiftly identify any potential fraudulent SMS traffic.

The urgency in addressing these issues cannot be understated; rapid response is critical. Delayed action essentially grants fraudsters the opportunity to profit from their schemes. Our approach is designed to detect and halt such frauds as quickly as possible—ideally within minutes or hours. Failure to act swiftly means these fraudsters can simply move their operations to another network or number range.

We’ve optimized our tools for immediate alerts upon detecting unconventional traffic patterns, enabling us to promptly notify our customers of any suspicious activity. For example, we inform customer X of unusual spikes in traffic that could indicate fraud within a specific network, timeframe, and range of numbers. This proactive communication is essential for maintaining the trust and security that our clients expect from our services.

 

For someone looking to dive into telecom today, what advice would you give them?

 

Well, you need to be prepared to reinvent yourself and the business you’re involved with because it’s essential to navigate the constant changes and challenges you face every day. It’s about transforming what could be seen as weaknesses into strengths—your ability to adapt to market shifts, service changes, and new challenges, like artificial traffic fraud, for instance. These obstacles offer an opportunity to distinguish yourself, to demonstrate to your customers and partners that you excel in this environment, outperforming competitors who might be vying for their attention. Flexibility and the capacity for rapid adaptation are crucial. In essence, reinventing oneself and swiftly responding to industry changes are paramount, especially in our fast-evolving field.

 

Luca Sacana’s insights into A2P messaging and Mitto’s proactive stance against industry challenges highlight the importance of innovation and adaptability in the telecom sector. As we look to the future, Sacana’s perspective not only informs us of the potential pathways for enterprise messaging but also emphasizes the continuous evolution required to lead in this dynamic field. 

 

Keen to learn more about one of the hot topics discussed here, AIT fraud? Dive deep into our special one-sheet for a comprehensive overview.