CEO Statement 2020: Driving New Growth with Number Intelligence, Insights and Innovation

2021

For all the talk about transformation in our industry, it took a global pandemic to really push organisations to reflect and evaluate how they move forward in a challenging market.

In the world of Business Messaging (A2P) from the MNO and A2P side, growing competition in business messaging is being matched with increasing demand from segments like financial services and eCommerce for Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) solutions utilising One Time Password (OTP) by SMS.

For Carriers, COVID-19 has placed additional pressure on carriers’ profitability and there is a real drive to fight fraud, stop losses from Origin Based Rating (OBR) and optimise routing.

The result has been that voice and messaging businesses are looking for ways to increase efficiency and create new competitive advantages. In 2020, from our perspective, many of the world’s largest Business Messaging (A2P) players and Tier 1 Telecom Operators and Carriers have made the connection between expanding their access to secure, high-quality industry-leading data sets and maximising the value of every message or minute on their networks, enabling them to deliver excellent services to their customers.

2020 Highlights

  • Substantial 75% business growth in 2020
  • Carried out over 13 billion queries for our customers
  • In Q1 we had our first billion query month
  • Added 17 countries to our portfolio of MNP databases
  • Exceeded our SLA with service delivery of minimum of 99.97% on single PoP
  • Launched new XConnect Services for Tier 1 Carriers and Operators to reduce fraud and improve routing and number range administration.

Growing momentum

Our number portability data now covers approximately 75% of total global mobile subscribers. Over the last 12 months, we’ve added another 17 countries’ number portability databases and have been continually expanding and refining our data sets to ensure that our customers have access to the most accurate, granular and reliable data.  

We have been able to achieve these results through the hard work of our team and our on-going collaboration with our partners and customers. I’m particularly proud of our ISO 27001:2013 certification back in February. Certification elevates and differentiates our business from competitors and demonstrates our commitment to secure and compliant data management. The initiative was led by Susan Duker, our Chief Information Officer, and re-confirms our ongoing commitment to data privacy and security.

The certification put us on another level in terms of relationships with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), carriers and messaging providers, and the response has been tremendous. This has enabled us to expand our datasets to enable Identity and Validation services to provide Account Take-Over Protection including SimSwap, Call Forward etc. This is vital in the enormous and growing world of e-commerce and financial services.

In 2020, our NIS Services for telecoms carrier / operators began to make a significant impact to XConnect and the industry. We had 80% growth in usage and signed up six new Tier 1 carriers and global MNOs. They are using our global number intelligence across multiple use cases including reducing international voice fraud (e.g. IRSF and Wangiri), stop losses from Origin Based Rating (OBR) penalty surcharges and also enhancing prefix management administration for rating, costing & routing.

This impact on the Telecoms sector was established in October 2020, when we were honoured to be recognised by our peers in the Carrier / Operator segment with a Global Carrier Award from Capacity Media for “Best Voice & IPX Service Innovation” for our Origin-Based Rating (OBR) fraud mitigation solution. This was the 16th year of the Global Carrier Award which is the longest-running and most prestigious award in the Telecoms industry. It was a real milestone for our business and I’m extremely proud of our team for anticipating a customer challenge and developing a solution that can have an immediate impact on their bottom line.

 

Drivers for growth

My goal for 2021 is to keep this momentum up and continue to explore new opportunities for our customers to empower their businesses’ data. We will continue to listen, collaborate and create solutions that match the changing needs of messaging and voice businesses.

I see opportunities for Number Information Services to be used to support the growth of Rich Communications Services (RCS), the next generation of SMS messaging. The RCS train has finally left the station and A2P providers will see the value in using XConnect’s data to ensure precision, performance and accuracy of message delivery.

This is the same for capturing the growing opportunity in 2FA. We can help players in the Business Messaging space differentiate their offerings with an optimised user experience. Users don’t like to wait for A2P messages, especially One Time Password (OTP) message to arrive but need the security of 2FA. Players that can guarantee delivery at ultra-high speed, thanks to our patented platform, will immediately have an advantage in a growing segment.

At the same time, carrier challenges around margin and volume pressures will only grow in 2021, so they should be exploring every tool possible to reduce losses from fraud and OBR. Whether they are seeing International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF), or surcharges or penalties associated with OBR, enhancing internal data sets with our global numbering intelligence can deliver predictable margins and stem these losses.

These are just some of the immediate opportunities we are seeing with new and existing customers. We also began to see solid interest for our new phone/subscriber intelligence services from Identity and Validation players. I see an increasing opportunity to support different kinds of customers who can benefit from using the ubiquitous phone number as the only viable global method to confirm the identity of individuals. This is a growth market in a world that is increasingly working remotely, shopping online and banking from anywhere. An individual’s mobile number can be a powerful tool for identification.

Our priorities in 2021

 To tap into these growing opportunities, we have to remain focused. Over the next 12 months, there are six really fundamental areas that we will prioritise:

1.     Build on Our Successes – In 2021, we will go beyond what we achieved in 2020 and deliver new levels of excellence in data quality, expertise and insights, and collaboration with customers. We’ve proven the value of our data and now we just need more organisations to see it in action.

2.     Create New Value for Existing Customers – We will help our customers to use our global number intelligence to solve multiple challenges across their operations. They might be using our data to combat voice fraud, but we can also improve performance for their A2P offering. We want customers to maximise the value of our data in their businesses.  

3.     Drive New Awareness in the Operator and Carrier segment – Our telecoms customers grew significantly in 2020, mainly driven by the introduction of our new services with our Global Number Range dataset. We want that momentum to continue and we’re committed to listening to voice customers and helping them to build a business case for optimising their operations with new data sets. We anticipate that this growth will come from Tier 1 Operators and Carriers increasingly recognise the value in how our services enable fraud reduction, optimised routing and enhanced number range administration.

4.     Deliver New Identity Services – We’ve seen the potential of our global number intelligence to support new customer segments with Identity and Validation services. In 2021, we’re going to evolve our offering. We have the most in-depth and quality data in the market so we should use it to solve new challenges across different industries. 

5.     Enable High-Quality RCS Experiences – We will work closely with MNOs and our A2P customers as we develop a specialised RCS discovery service. As RCS is finally taking off, we want to ensure that MNOs and A2P players are able to offer optimised experiences for users as well as cost-efficient routing.

6.     Participate, Collaborate and Support Industry Bodies – We are big supporters of the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF) and the GSMA. In 2020, we re-signed the MEF’s ‘Trust in Enterprise Messaging’ Code of Conduct and participated in its Personal Data and Identity work groups, Identity whitepaper, and webinars. We will continue this work with the MEF as well as our engagement for the GSMA’s Fraud and Security Group.


These are backed by our core DNA – our ruthless drive for ‘perfect’ data quality, with the highest performance metrics on the most “secure” and trusted platform in the industry. By remaining faithful to our core principles, we will continue to deliver the services demanded by our customers – and continue our years of solid growth.

This time next year

By this time next year, I want XConnect to be recognised as the leader in messaging and voice intelligence. Not just because of the quality of our data, but the entire customer experience. I want customers to see our consultative approach and how we can help them to tackle multiple challenges across their businesses.

They should see that we are organising the world’s network and subscriber information and making it simple and efficient to access and apply in their operations. If we are able to do that, I believe we will grow by more than 50% in 2021 and see more Tier 1 carriers and MNOs using our data. We will also continue our momentum, in the Identity and Validation segment based on our established position of trust, backed by our ISO certification. We will co-create solutions, with our data partners that will become essential in eCommerce and Financial Services. 

It has never been more exciting to work at XConnect and we are looking forward to a big 2021.

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