A2P Traffic Violations How to Protect Enterprise Integrity

Anahid Akkam
Anahid AkkamContent Manager

Published: May 27, 2024

A2P Traffic Violations

Nowadays, every interaction matters, and understanding the nuances of content regulation isn't just smart—it's imperative. As companies use messaging platforms to connect with customers, staying on top of the rules is necessary for keeping campaigns running smoothly and reputations intact. It only takes one content violation notification to prompt businesses to assess and rectify potential compliance breaches.

What is Considered an A2P Traffic Violation?

A2P (Application-to-Person) traffic violations encompass a range of activities that contravene telecom regulations and standards. These violations often involve the improper use of messaging channels for commercial purposes. As a result, they lead to unwanted messages and potential harm to consumers.

One common form of violation involves evading unwanted messaging detection by sending similar or identical messages from multiple phone numbers. This practice, known as snowshoeing, aims to distribute messaging traffic across various channels to avoid detection and enforcement measures. Recycling numbers or using unregistered long codes for messaging campaigns can further complicate detection efforts.

Regulatory-related alerts, such as compliance violation notifications, play a major role in maintaining compliance with federal and state laws governing messaging practices. These alerts notify the content provider and message sender of reported compliance violations raised by telecom carriers. They trigger enforcement actions and potential fines.

When these violations occur, telecom carriers may impose penalties, including non-compliance fine and account restriction, to deter future infractions. The severity of the violation enforcement varies; carriers levy fines based on the respective fine amount outlined in regulatory guidelines.

In cases of severe consumer violations, such as sending illegal content related to sex, hate, alcohol, firearms (SHAFT violations), carriers may impose stricter penalties to safeguard consumer interests and uphold industry standards.

To prevent this, businesses must adopt industry standards and compliance mechanisms, including approved application-to-person messaging programs and filtering evasion techniques. By adhering to carrier requirements and implementing prevention mechanisms, businesses can mitigate the risk of non-compliant traffic and maintain the integrity of their messaging programs.

Impact on Enterprises, SMS, And MMS Messages

Violations can have significant repercussions for enterprises, SMS, and MMS messaging practices. They can impact both business operations and consumer trust. These violations often arise from non-compliant messaging activities that disregard federal and state laws, resulting in severe penalties and reputational damage for businesses.

Enterprises using SMS and MMS messaging channels, including toll-free numbers, must adhere to regulatory guidelines to avoid non-compliance fines and carrier penalties. The misuse of toll-free numbers for commercial messaging purposes can lead to non-compliance fees imposed by telecom carriers. This can jeopardize the company's access to these channels and disrupt business communication.

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Perhaps the most severe consumer violation associated with A2P traffic is the transmission of spam traffic containing sex, hate speech, alcohol, or firearms. Such offending messages not only violate federal laws but also undermine consumer trust and tarnish the company's reputation.

Snowshoeing and recycling numbers to send the same or similar messages from multiple phone numbers can further exacerbate the impact of these violations on business messaging. Telecom carriers, such as T-Mobile, actively detect and enforce penalties for non-compliant traffic, including the suspension of SMS campaigns and the imposition of fines outlined in regulatory guidelines.

Responsibilities of Telecom Providers

Telecom providers must ensure the integrity and compliance of A2P traffic, as mandated by federal and state law. These providers are tasked with enforcing regulatory standards and implementing measures to prevent non-compliant messaging activities, thereby safeguarding consumer interests and maintaining the reliability of messaging services.

One of the primary responsibilities of telecom providers is to monitor A2P traffic for signs of non-compliance. These include the transmission of the same or similar message from multiple numbers and the use of unregistered long code messaging campaigns. By detecting and flagging instances of non-compliant traffic, providers can take proactive steps to stop the transmission of offending messages and prevent further violations.

On top of monitoring A2P traffic, telecom providers must also facilitate compliance efforts by granting businesses access to approved A2P messaging channels. This includes maintaining a campaign registry and enforcing security testing procedures to ensure that only authorized senders are able to send messages through their networks.

When non-compliance fines apply, telecom providers are responsible for imposing penalties and enforcing account restrictions on offending parties. For example, T-Mobile reserves the right to levy fines and penalties on businesses found to be in violation of regulatory standards.

To further enhance compliance efforts, telecom providers may collaborate with businesses to implement other remediation efforts, such as educating message senders and content providers on legal and regulatory requirements. By working together to address compliance issues, providers and businesses can create a more secure and reliable messaging environment for consumers.

What Are Some of the Penalties for Non-Compliant Messaging?

T-Mobile Network imposes fines that are applicable to all commercial messaging non-consumer A2P products, including SMS or MMS short code, toll-free, and 10DLC, traversing the T-Mobile network.

The fines cover various violations, including phishing, smishing, and social engineering (manipulating individuals into sharing private information).

These non-compliance fines extend to violations across any A2P messaging product, including SMS/MMS short code, toll-free, and 10DLC. T-Mobile reserves the right to permanently suspend brands, campaigns, and company access to its network in case of excessive violations.

  • Tier 1: $2,000: phishing, smishing, and social engineering (the latter involves manipulating individuals to divulge sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card details)

  • Tier 2: $1,000: illegal content (must be legal federally in all 50 US states)

  • Tier 3: $500: all other violations in commercial messaging (including SHAFT) that do not follow federal and state law and regulations

The Importance of Collaboration and Compliance

Needless to say, collaboration and compliance are necessary for maintaining the integrity of messaging services and safeguarding consumer interests. By fostering collaboration between stakeholders and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, businesses, content providers, messaging services, and telecom carriers can collectively mitigate the risks associated with non-compliant messaging activities.

One of the key aspects of collaboration in A2P messaging is the establishment of clear communication channels between content providers and messaging services. Content providers are responsible for sending messages to consumers through messaging services, which act as intermediaries between businesses and telecom carriers.

Maintaining open lines of communication and sharing relevant information allows content providers and messaging services to work together to ensure the timely delivery of messages while adhering to regulatory guidelines.

Collaboration between businesses and telecom carriers is also essential for preventing non-compliant traffic and addressing compliance issues. Telecom carriers, such as T-Mobile, play a crucial role in detecting and enforcing penalties for non-compliant messaging activities.

Compliance with regulatory standards is equally important in maintaining the integrity of A2P messaging service. Businesses and content providers must adhere to federal and state laws governing messaging practices, including guidelines related to content violation notifications, event violations, and text message rates.

Telecom carriers, such as T-Mobile, use detection mechanisms and penalty enforcement procedures to identify non-compliant messaging activities and impose penalties, such as fines or account restrictions, on offending parties. By collaborating with telecom carriers and proactively addressing compliance issues, businesses can protect their interests and maintain the integrity of their messaging programs.

Best Practices for Avoiding Carrier Fines

1. Comply With Policies

To avoid carrier fines, businesses must adhere to policies set by messaging services and promptly address content violation notifications. Compliance with regulations governing SMS channels is necessary to stop non-compliant traffic and gain access to approved messaging channels.

By staying informed about current fines outlined by carriers like T-Mobile and proactively monitoring and addressing compliance issues, businesses can ensure the integrity of their text messages and maintain their ability to receive messages.

2. Register for A2P 10DLC

The US registration process guarantees that all A2P 10DLC traffic to US phone numbers is authenticated and consensual. This campaign registration requirements comprise two primary components: creating a brand and creating a campaign.

First, determine your customer type, whether an individual, business, or organization, to establish your sender identity for messaging purposes. Specify the nature of your brand, whether it's a corporate entity, non-profit organization, or individual, to accurately represent your sender profile to mobile carriers.

Then, define the purpose and scope of your messaging campaign, outlining how end-users can opt in, opt out, and seek assistance regarding message delivery. Undergo a comprehensive vetting process conducted by TCR and mobile carriers to validate your sender identity and campaign legitimacy. Once testing is successful, launch your registered campaign to begin sending messages to US phone numbers.

3. Monitor Traffic

Monitoring message filtering and opt-out rates can serve as an initial indication of non-compliant messaging. Using your messaging insights to track your traffic is a recommended practice to guarantee compliance.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the organizations and laws that govern business texting?

Business texting is governed by various organizations and laws aimed at protecting consumer privacy and regulating commercial communication. These include the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the FCC’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Act (CTIA), the Campaign Registry (TCR), the Short Code Registry, the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), the FCC’s Truth-In-Advertising Laws, as well as copyright laws and Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL).

2. What is messaging program evasion?

Messaging program evasion refers to tactics employed to circumvent detection by messaging programs, such as T-Mobile's monitoring systems. These tactics may involve deceptive practices aimed at concealing non-compliant messaging activities.

3. How does T-Mobile detect messaging program evasion?

T-Mobile employs advanced monitoring systems to detect potential instances of messaging program evasion. These systems analyze messaging traffic patterns and identify anomalies that may indicate non-compliant behavior.

4. What guidelines does the CTIA provide regarding the content of text messages?

The CTIA outlines guidelines for the content of text messages to ensure legal and ethical compliance. They prohibit messages containing any content related to SHAFT (sex, hate, alcohol, firearms, or tobacco), which may include depictions or endorsements of violence, adult or inappropriate content, profanity, hate speech, or endorsement of illegal drugs or substances. These guidelines aim to promote responsible messaging practices and maintain a safe and appropriate environment for messaging audiences.

5. What is Carrier SPAM Mitigation and how does it affect business texting?

Carrier SPAM Mitigation refers to measures implemented by mobile carriers to prevent the transmission of unsolicited or potentially harmful messages to consumers. AT&T introduced an amendment to their SPAM mitigation policy back in 2016, which specifically prohibits the sending of High Risk Financial offers via shared short codes. These restricted types of messaging include loan origination and matching, payday loans, short-term loans, auto loans, mortgage loans, student loans, debt consolidation and reduction, investment opportunities, credit repair programs, tax relief programs, and deceptive work-from-home programs. The amendment allows for the use of a dedicated short code approved for a specific use case, ensuring that businesses adhere to regulatory guidelines and consumer protection standards.