An A2P SMS gray route is a route that support SMS traffic but doesn’t generate revenue for telecoms. Event though a gray route is not properly monetized, the telecoms are still paying for signaling and network maintenance for this traffic.
Telecoms cannot achieve their full revenue potential unless all grey routes are closed.
There are three types of grey routes:
1. Telcom to Telecom: Telecom A has a roaming agreement with Telecom B overseas for P2P messages. The ratio of incoming and outgoing messages is usually 1:1, so neither telco charges the other for that traffic. Unfortunately, one telecom deliberately masks A2P traffic as P2P instead and monetizes the traffic while the other does not. In the industry, this is known as the leased global title (GT) address approach misuse.
2. A2P Aggregators: Telecoms can avoid paying high roaming fees by using local market A2P aggregators. In this type, Telecom A is using a local aggregator, who has better SMS rates with Telecom B, to deliver A2P traffic over SMPP routes. In doing so, Telecom A is avoiding paying the agreed price to Telecom B, and Telecom B ultimately suffers revenue loss.
3. SIM Boxes: These devices use prepaid P2P SIM cards to terminate premium A2P traffic. Prepaid cards have an SMS price that is lower than direct A2P telecom prices, or they have a certain number of free messages in their kickoff package. The difference between those prices is where SIM box fraudsters make their margin.