Overview & History of Combatting Unwanted Text Messages
In 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled that Short Message Service (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) are “information services,” not “telecommunications services” or “commercial mobile services” under the Communications Act. The FCC determined that the wireless messaging providers (i.e.- MNOs- Mobile Network Operators such as AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile), should continue to monitor and regulate SMS and MMS messages, and not the FCC. In other words, the FCC put the regulation of anti-spam and anti-fraud messaging monitoring and restrictions into the hands of private cellular companies. They believed in doing so this would “remove regulatory uncertainty and empower wireless messaging providers to continue protecting American consumers from unwanted text messages, including spam and scam robotexts.”
On February 1, 2021, all long code SMS and MMS terminating to T-Mobile and AT&T were moved to its new 10-digit long code 10DLC & A2P service. The MNOs began to slowly force all businesses that send text messages from their business number to register their “brand” (aka company) and “campaign” (aka type of messages sent) to remain compliant with the new 10DLC initiative. The MNOs threatened to slow down message traffic, apply fees, and even block text messaging traffic to any business (or carrier) that did not register their SMS-enabled phone numbers.
Are the Wireless Carrier 10DLC/A2P Initiatives to Combat Unwanted Messages Working?
Accordingly to recent data, the problem is only getting worse. Per the Federal Trade Commission, consumers have reported greater losses from text scams in the first three quarters of 2022 than in all of 2020 and 2021 combined. RoboKiller’s report (https://www.robokiller.com/the-robokiller-report) projects a 179% increase in the dollars lost from text messages between 2021 and 2022, up to $28 billion this year alone.
What is the FCC doing to Help?
On September 27, 2022, the FCC proposed blocking of illegal text messages with a new robotext proceeding. The notice of proposed rulemaking proposes requiring mobile providers to block texts from invalid, unallocated, unused, or “Do-Not-Originate” numbers. The measures will encourage wireless providers to block spoofed texts and apply caller ID authentication standards to texting.
The 10DLC/A2P compliancy initiative is still in its early stages and as technology and monitoring tools become more robust, one can only hope text messaging does not follow the same frustrating path of spam voice calls.
But only time will tell…
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