A turn in the calendar year often correlates to renewed managed services contracts for many mobile network operators. Despite a shrinking international voice interconnect traffic market due to the likes of everyone’s favorite Over-The-Top (OTT) applications, opportunistic fraudsters continue to siphon termination minutes from high margin markets- especially in the many emerging markets across Africa, Middle East, and Asia. These SIM Box bypass fraudsters are happy to see legacy test call generation (TCG) contracts renewed for 2018.

Everyone knows TCG is the long standing and necessary tool that enables discovery and insight into mobile network interconnect fraud. TCG is the smoke alarm for a burning house. What pleases the arsonist SIM Boxers, they watch the house incinerate while the blaring alarm falls on deaf ears. Mobile operators evacuate to the comfort of their TCG detection KPIs while international voice terminations burn to the ground. Certainly, OTT fans the flames that are consuming a portion of interconnect revenue streams, but we continue to engage with a surprising number of mobile operators who use this convenient truth to settle for an alarm system without a fire extinguisher.

In 2017, LATRO greatly expanded its Versalytics global footprint especially in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Versalytics is our comprehensive and integrated solution for extinguishing bypass fraud. We take an integrated approach. As most seasoned fraud management professionals understand, today’s sophisticated SIM Server based bypass operations require a range of analytics and proactive tactics to rapidly and comprehensively recover interconnect terminations from the grey markets. While TCG is a valuable component in the overall control implementation, we use the discovery and insight mined during interconnect scanning to focus more advanced controls on completely blocking SIM cards from terminating their first call to the victim network.

LATRO’s comprehensive and integrated solution of diversified approaches to recovering top line revenues for mobile operators has been a mainstay for our company’ strategy since inception in 2006. Several of our competitors began to follow suit this year. A few legacy TCG vendors added some basic analytics tools to their offering. We’re happy to see a portion our long-standing strategy embraced in the market as we know this is the only effective strategy to salvage the burning house. Perhaps proliferation of LATRO’s strategy for comprehensive controls is the reason for the rise in Regulatory engagement and Refiling in 2017.

LATRO’s comprehensive and integrated solution of diversified approaches to recovering top line revenues for mobile operators has been a mainstay for our company’ strategy since inception in 2006.

Our engagements with National Regulatory Authorities increased in 2017 and is set for expansion in 2018. On mission to protect national markets from tariff theft, service quality, and security risk, many Regulators are learning how LATRO can help power enforcement strategies. Enforcing laws against illegal international voice terminations raises the stakes for would be fraudsters, leading to decreased fraud and increased revenues in protected markets. These principles are at the core of almost all publicly funded telecommunications authorities and commissions. Further, Regulators have been increasingly pulled into disputes over voice call Refiling this year.

Advanced control solutions like LATRO’s Versalytics system pro-actively detect SIM Box or SIM Gateway devices upon SIM registration to the network, forcing those who wish to profit from bypass termination to seek other modus operandi. During 2017, LATRO observed an increase in voice call Refiling across many markets. Refiling involves the aggregation of interconnect traffic and swapping of the A-Party Calling Line Identities (CLI) prior to termination to local networks. Several bad actors are capable of Refiling including unlicensed International Gateway Operators (IGWs). Mobile operators often turn to their Regulatory liaisons for help in stopping Refiling. As a result, LATRO partners with Regulators to employ an advanced signaling based approach to identify Refiling and support enforcement actions against such illicit practices.

Mobile operators must continue to protect valuable interconnect revenue streams while investing in data infrastructure expansion. Everyone agrees that the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution is underway. Even as interconnects, including conventional Voice-over-IP (VoIP) international interconnect traffic, evolve to data based billing (see the work done within the GSMA Wholesale Agreements and Solutions Group in document WA.10), the tidal wave of connected devices on wireless networks will demand sophisticated, big data based analytics tools to protect IoT networks from abuse and revenue leakage. During 2018, LATRO will continue implementation of IoT solutions within several ongoing and new projects with our key mobile operator clients.

We expect 2018 to be a year of continued fire-fighting in response to the many unanswered TCG alarms. Mobile operators deploying more advanced solutions than stand-alone TCG will save and protect their combustible house of recovered revenues. We will see adoption of these comprehensive and integrated control strategies to protect against ever evolving bypass fraud tactics. In parallel, companies like LATRO which are engaged on the early adoption of IoT will help mobile operators take advantage of the business opportunities tied to migrations toward data based revenue streams in need of abuse and revenue leakage protection.