Email a colleague    

November 2015

SIM Box Bypass: The Threat to Developing Nations and the Actions Regulators Must Take

SIM Box Bypass: The Damage to Developing Nations and the Actions Regulators Must Take

Bypass and SIM Box fraud continue to cause huge financial damage to telecoms.  In a 2015 survey, the CFCA estimated annual bypass losses of $6 billion globally.

But what are the losses to the nations affected by bypass?  Well, that’s a tough question to answer.  In fact, no international body — ITU, United Nations, etc. — appears to be actually quantifying the global damage to nations.

Many critical questions are not being adequately discussed.  For instance, what are the various kinds of damage — financial, economic, and social — that bypass fraud inflicts on a nation?  And what’s the proper role of policy makers and law enforcement?  Should they take a hands-off approach and let the telecom operators drive the solution, or should governments get more actively involved?

Well, for some perspective on these issues, I interviewed Lex Wilkinson, CEO of LATRO Services, a boutique solutions firm who specializes in solving telecom bypass problems.  Lex provides a clear explanation of the many subtle problems associated with bypass and SIM box fraud causes.  And he also discusses a case study in Jordan that shows how regulators, operators and solution vendors can successfully work together to contain the problem.

Dan Baker, Black Swan Editor: Lex, I think a good starting point is to better understand the full scope of the bypass and SIM box issue.  What kind of damage does bypass cause?  And what are the issues that regulators and other government officials need to be concerned about?

Lex Wilkinson: Dan, the global damage that illegal bypass causes is substantial and it goes far beyond the loss of tax or operator revenue.  At LATRO, we categorize SIM box bypass damage under three main categories:

  • financial and revenue damage;
  • infrastructure and service quality damage; and,
  • security and privacy damage.

It’s worth spending a couple minutes discussing these issues one by one.  So here we go:

Financial & Revenue Loss

  1. Tax revenue loss — First and foremost, of course, international phone calls are a big source of tax revenue and foreign exchange currency, especially for nations in the developing world.  The tax revenue is used to fund national infrastructure and many other things.  But if 20% of a nation’s foreign incoming calls are being bypassed, then 20% of tax revenue is lost.
  2. Operator revenue loss — The licensed telecom operators of the country also lose revenue, which could kill their business and at the least cause them to earn a much lower return on their investments.  Instead, the revenue lost goes to enrich criminal organizations usually in foreign lands.

National Infrastructure & Service Quality Damage

  1. Damage to a Nation’s Economic Infrastructure — Communications infrastructure is vital to a nation’s economic prosperity and growth.  And it’s becoming more and more vital today as the information technology that drives business — and economic development — is migrating to cloud networks. 

    So protecting the licensed operators and preventing bypass competition is sound public policy.  If SIM Box fraudsters destroy the incentive for private telecom operators to invest and grow their infrastructure, great damage is done to the larger society.  Another important issue is that bypass causes the licensed operators to invest wastefully in wireless and backhaul infrastructure in locations where SIM box bypass occurs.
  2. The Quality of Phone Service Suffers — To boost their revenue, fraudsters cut corners on voice call quality wherever possible.  They use low rate voice encoders that deliver low quality of service calls.  Plus much of the revenue for driving fraudulent traffic comes from low-priced calling cards sold in foreign countries.  In short, the average quality of voice service in a country is significantly reduced by SIM Box bypass.

Security & Privacy Damage

  1. Lawful Intercept Systems are Bypassed — When an international phone call terminates through a SIM box, it not only bypasses the international gateway of the telecom operator, it also sidesteps the nation’s Lawful Intercept systems, the legal surveillance means police and intelligence agencies use to track criminals and terrorists. 

    So why does that occur?  Well, when a call is diverted through an illegal SIM box, the originating phone number is stripped away.  What the telecom system sees is the phone number of the illegal SIM card, not the actual originating number from the foreign country. 

    So, for example, if the authorities in U.A.E. want to legally wiretap a known terrorist in Yemen making calls into the U.A.E., they risk missing any calls that are redirected through a SIM Box.
  2. Phone Calls Lose their Privacy and Security Protections --  Public networks have a high degree of security and privacy built-in.  GSM mobile networks, for instance, are encrypted to protect the subscriber’s privacy.  Normal VoIP traffic also passes through the secure networks of interconnect carriers. 

    But when calls are redirected through an illegal SIM box, these security measures are often not there, meaning the phone calls can be tapped into by criminals or hackers in the path of those IP connections.  Now the reason the SIM box fraudsters don’t protect the calls is to avoid extra costs: a simpler network means they don’t need to hire security equipment and experts.
  3. SMS Messages are Compromised — In addition to phone calls, the security of SMS messages is also compromised by SIM Box bypass.  This issue is especially troubling today now that bank notices and other confidential information are regularly being passed to mobile subscribers via SMS.
Great, Lex.  Your discussion of the various kinds of damage shows how multi-faceted and dangerous the bypass problem truly is.  But what about the threat itself?  The problem has existed for many years now.  Is it increasing or decreasing?

Dan, despite the high investments operators have made in controlling bypass, we at LATRO strongly suspect that the SIM Box problem is actually increasing worldwide.  LATRO serves operators in many countries, and in many of these places international voice revenue has declined sharply due to SIM box bypass.  After we enter a market and insert our technology and work with the operators, regulators, and police, international voice revenue goes back up again.

So what’s causing the increase in SIM Box bypass?  Certainly one of the chief causes is that fraudsters are more sophisticated today.  They’ve become experts at avoiding detection and using stealth technology.

Managing and controlling SIM box bypass has evolved over time.  And control techniques that worked well only a couple years ago have been neutralized.  For instance, many nations have launched government programs to control the purchase of SIM cards on the local market.

Now initially these programs did their job: they caused the fraudsters some headaches and made getting a fresh supply of SIM cards much harder.  But recently — with the rise of SIM Server technology — SIM card purchasing controls are steadily losing their effectiveness.

Here’s why: the SIM Server allows the fraudsters to centralize the command and control of bypass operations.  What they do is drop their SIM Server in a country like Monaco, Jamaica, or anywhere actually.  Then they use that one Server to control bypass across multiple countries.

Here’s another key advantage they gain with SIM servers: the SIM cards themselves no longer need to live in the local infected network.  The SIM cards can be consumed in a large bank of SIM cards adjacent to the SIM Server in the criminal’s country halfway around the world.  So today, the only things they require in the local network are the antennas that retransmit the fraudulent traffic onto the local mobile network.

Now perhaps the biggest concern of all is that, with the help of SIM Servers, the fraudsters can lower the telltale usage of any single SIM card to the point where it flies “below the radar” of easy detection by fraud management systems.

NOTE: For a interesting discussion of the SIM Server challenge, and current methods used to detect and block bypass, we recommend you download and read TRI’s white paper on the subject.

OK, if SIM box bypass is now harder to combat — and government SIM card controls no longer work like they used to — what’s the proper role of governments and regulatory bodies in the fight?  Sounds like the SIM box problem has become a more technical issue, suggesting operators need to solve it on their own.

Though it may sound counter-intuitive, the exact opposite is true, Dan.  Since the fraudsters are now more technically savvy at their deception game, governments must actually step up and play a more active role in protecting their country from bypass.  Here’s why:

  • Fraudsters Seek the Path of Least Resistance in a Country.  The fraudsters usually locate their SIM boxes in highly populated areas served by multiple carriers.  Now operators vary quite a bit in their competence, focus, and resources to deal with bypass fraud. 

    Let’s say there are three operators in a region.  Operators 1 and 2 have a relatively good SIM box detection program, but Operator 3 is weak.  Well, the fraudster can push more traffic toward Operator 3 because it has the weakest defenses.  But notice, because the fraudsters have diverted their fraud toward the weak operator’s networks, the amount of actual bypass within the country remains the same: government tax losses remain the same as before!
  • The Regulator is in the Best Position to Optimize the Deployment of SIM Box Detection & Blocking Resources — LATRO Services has developed a patented Protocol Signature detection method based on network signaling probes that detect and block SIM Boxes as soon as they sign onto the network.  Now a resource like that is best deployed in a single city area served by multiple operators.  To deploy that technology in one operator’s network alone is less effective, because the fraudster simply redirects its traffic to mobile operator not protected by LATRO’s probe.
  • Law Enforcement’s Effectiveness is Enhanced — Since a key goal is to seize SIM boxes that affect multiple operators in a region, it’s more effective if the government regulator coordinates the use of LATRO’s technology to pinpoint the actual location of the SIM boxes and work with the police to go in to confiscate equipment and make arrests in one fell swoop and surprise the fraudsters.
So what can be done, Lex?  What’s a typical SIM box control strategy?  How have regulators worked with you in the past to make a dent in the problem?

Well, we recently worked with the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) in the country of Jordan.  The project was a big success because SIM box bypass was substantially reduced and a total of 16 SIM box operations were prosecuted. 

The project’s success was largely due to the coordinated effort of: government regulators, local law enforcement, the mobile operators in Jordan, and LATRO’s unique SIM Box locating technology.  Here are the four main steps in that operation:

  1. SIM Boxes were Detected & Revenue Losses were Stopped — Intelligence from LATRO’s SIM Box detection systems and the Jordanian operators were combined allowing TRC to successfully block SIM card use and prevent further financial loss to the operators and the Jordanian government.
  2. The Fraudsters’ SIM Box Deployments & Strategies were Exposed — Running all the detection data through LATRO’s Versalytics analysis platform provided TRC with a comprehensive view of fraud activities in Jordan.  Individual SIM Box fraud operations were then further analyzed through LATRO’s proprietary pattern recognition technology.
  3. SIM Box Locations were Precisely Pinpointed — Using the network intelligence on SIM Box activity as a starting point, the TRC team uses LATRO’s Radio Frequency (RF) investigation tool to identify the exact location of the actual SIM Boxes.
  4. SIM Box Operations were Busted — TRC then mobilized its law enforcement resources to take action.  In just a few months, Jordanian police forces seized and confiscated 449 SIM Box modems representing 646,000 potential minutes of fraudulently terminated calls.  This produced an estimated revenue savings in Jordan of $1.36 million.

So this gives you an idea what can be done.  Now I emphasized the revenue savings because that’s the easiest benefit to calculate, but Jordan certainly also saw improvements in the telecom service quality and security/privacy areas we discussed before.

Lex, thanks for this fine briefing.  Your discussion not only educates regulators on what’s at stake, you’ve also shown that much can still be done to attack this bypass and SIM Box cancer that afflicts so many nations.

Copyright 2015 Black Swan Telecom Journal


About the Expert

Lex Wilkinson

Lex Wilkinson

William “Lex” Wilkinson is the Chief Executive Officer of LATRO Services, Inc., a privately funded company based in Easton, PA.  He was a pioneer in fighting fraud during the cellular market explosion of the early 1990’s and was an original member/founder of the CTIA Fraud Task Force in 1991.  As a security consultant to industry associations and wireless operators around the world, Lex has seen first-hand the many ways fraud can affect organizations and cost millions in lost revenue.

Later as an executive with Rural Cellular Corporation, he participated in the sale and integration of RCC to Verizon Wireless where he remained until 2010.  Based on his years of experience in the industry and as a Tier 1 telecom executive, he created LATRO Services, a company that develops and implements next generation fraud analysis tools and managed services for wireless operators around the world.

Mr.  Wilkinson is a U.S.  Army Veteran, retired Police Detective and a graduate of DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania.  Today, LATRO Services operates in over twenty-five markets on four continents.   Contact Lex via

Related Stories

Related Articles

  • Art of the Fugue: Bringing the Baroque World of Telecom Reference Data to Fraud Management interview with Guy Howie — A tutorial on the role of telecom reference data in billing, revenue assurance, and pricing analysis.  The interview includes details on four new reference databases in fraud control.
  • Share, Educate & Tighten Controls: How to Instill a Strong Telecom Risk & Anti-Fraud Culture interview with Luke Taylor — Learn the steps operators should take to: educate staff/customers in fraud prevention and assure against mobile service abuse.  The interview also dives deep into risk issues that affect the African continent.
  • How IRSF Predators are Evolving their Fraud Attacks on the Weak and Unprotected of the Telecom Serengeti interview with Colin Yates — Fraud fighter Colin Yates shares some startling research data and facts on how fraudsters are using automation and other techniques get around the recent success operators have had in blocking fraud, particularly to high-revenue destinations.
  • NuData Shines Digital Behavior Light on Operating Telecoms Securely in a World Darkened by Identity Fraud interview with Ryan Wilk — A tutorial on digital behavior analysis and how it drives value for telecoms in: greater fraud protection and intelligence to improve the digital customer experience.
  • Fraud Management in Music City: The 2017 Equinox Protector User Group Meeting by Dan Baker — Program details of an upcoming fraud management conference in Nashville, Tennessee in November 2017.  It’s the Equinox Protector User Group Meeting.
  • Mobileum Brings Analytic Scans & Minimally Invasive Treatment to Fraud Removal interview with Jason Lane-Sellers — Advanced analytics-driven fraud detection has arriving.  It enables targeted treatment of fraud cases, lessening customer experience mistakes such as blocking calls to legitimate businesses.
  • Stealth Test Calls: A Powerful New Weapon in the Fight to Block SIM Box Bypass interview with Kenneth Mouton — SIM Box bypass is a highly challenging interconnect fraud to detect.  An expert explains the benefits of a new hybrid test call and CDR profiling systems.  Also discussed is a major anti-fraud breakthrough: stealth test calls.
  • Telecoms Need to Step Up their Game in Subscription Fraud and Customer Onboarding Control interview with Luke Taylor — Know your customer and subscription fraud systems critical investments for telcos today.  An expert discusses: delivering first-class onboarding controls; selecting risk mitigation priorities; and integrating back end systems.
  • WeDo Offers Fraud Detection via a New Cloud Platform interview with Thomas Steagall — A leading vendor introduces a cloud fraud control solution to serve the low cost, easy-to-deploy-learn-and-support requirements of many new operators, OTTs, and MVNOs.
  • Bypass Fraud Evolves: New Threats from Outgoing SIM Box Bypass & Spikes in CLI-Tampering interview with Philippe Orsini — An overview of explosive fraud threats like outgoing SIM box call dumping and CLI spoofing.  What roles do human experts play and technical platforms in battling SIM box via electronic warfare?
  • A Herculean Task: Battling Fraud in an Increasingly Complex Comms World interview with Michalis Mavis — A fraud control expert walks through some interesting cases, gives us his advice on FMS software, and offers four key lessons on the path to fraud management excellence.
  • The Race to Develop Cross-Industry “Know Your Customer” Biometrics to Verify Identity Remotely interview with Shankar Palaniandy — ground-breaking cross-industry ID verification software. India’s 1 billion-people-strong national identity database could become the model for cross-industry ID verification worldwide.  An expert trialing visual biometrics at several Indian banks explains the latest in Know Your Customer technology.  
  • The Early Warning Power of IPRN Test Call Detection in Blocking IRSF Fraud interview with Colin Yates — Detecting the test calls made to International Premium Rate Numbers (IPRN) is helping telcos block IRSF fraud.  An expert explains fraudster methods and the value of IPRN databases.
  • How Regulators can Lead the Fight Against International Bypass Fraud by Dan Baker — As a regulator in a country infected by SIM box fraud, what can you do to improve the situation?  A white paper explains the steps you can and should you take — at the national government level — to better protect your country’s tax revenue, quality of communications, and national infrastructure.
  • Global Interconnect Specialist iconectiv Ramps up its Fraud & Identity Solutions in Bypass & A2P Messaging interview with Bojan Andelkovic — Today’s IRSF, SIM Box, and SMS A2P frauds call for coordinated and broadly conceived FM programs.  A leading interconnect specialist explains the benefits of its managed services approach.
  • A Real-Time Packet-Based Solution to Detect & Block any Hijacked OTT Call interview with Paul David & Andy Gent — Two veterans of the SIM Box call bypass wars describe a new solution for stopping OTT bypass.  Get vital intel on the call hijacking of VIBER and other OTTs.  Learn why the revenue threat to roaming is as serious as it is to international calls.
  • Calculating the Fraud Risks of the Digital Era by Dror Eshet — Digital and mobile technology are an integral part of our daily lives.  Not only is the technology evolving at a frantic rate, but a leading fraud expert explains how fraudsters now team with one another to commit their crimes and magnify the risks to users, companies, and global infrastructure.
  • SIM Box Bypass: The Damage to Developing Nations and the Actions Regulators Must Take interview with Lex Wilkinson — Bypass fraud via the SIM box causes great revenue loss and poses many other dangers, especially in developing nations.  An expert discusses the regulator issues and recommended actions in the fight to control bypass.
  • Protecting the Roaming Cash Cow: Using a Global Test Network for LTE Deployments & Beyond interview with Florian Leeder — International is a premium service that operators must ensure the roaming business is reliable and optimized.  This article makes the case for a global roaming test service.  It explains the problems operators face in contracting with roaming partners, maintaining quality, and rolling out LTE.
  • Nine Simple Strategies for Protecting an Operator or MVNO from Telecom Fraud interview with Jim Bolzenius — An expert in telecom fraud management explains essential strategies for aiming a carrier’s or MVNO’s fraud prevention program in the right direction.
  • A Sweeping 239-Page Research Report on Fraud Management Solutions & Strategies by Dan Baker — TRI has released a comprehensive  analyst report on fraud management solutions.  The study is based on interviews with three dozen leading FM consultants and solution experts.  Download the free Executive Summary.
  • SMS Bypass Blocking: A Service that Protects & Maximizes A2P Revenue for Mobile Operators interview with Claire Cassar — A2P messaging is a multi-billion dollar revenue stream that mobile operators need to protect.  In this interview, you’ll learn how a managed service solution blocks bulk marketing messages and other bypass fraud in enterprise-to-operator SMS traffic.
  • Device Intelligence and Big Data Linkage: Guarding Consumer Access Points from the Fraudsters interview with Matt Ehrlich — Preventing subscription fraud today means supplementing traditional identity checks with a host of new processes, technology, and big data analytics.  A credit and fraud risk expert explains the roles of predictive scores, device risk assessment, and linkage analysis.
  • Mapping the Interconnect Resale Routes of Fraudsters: How a Global Robot Network Detects Voice and SMS Bypass interview with Xavier Lesage — SIM box voice bypass is a persistent problem, but now, bypass is spreading to SMS, OTT apps on the smartphone, and ghost trunks.  This interview explains the fast evolving bypass scene, highlights the strategy of fraudsters, and provides case studies.
  • Law Enforcement & Security in a World Where Industry and National Boundaries are Blurred interview with Mark Johnson — Are we destined to be forever reactive over security, fraud, and risk issues?  Or will we put wise standards, regulations, and frameworks in place that allow us to deliver technology that’s relatively secure and fraud-resistant? 
  • Thinking Outside the Comms Box: A New, Cross Industry Fraud Check Service that Telecoms can Leverage interview with Jim Rice — For decades, telecoms have done fraud and identity checks using comms industry data.  This interview explains the power of using cross-industry data to pinpoint known fraudsters and suspicious individuals in finance, retail, and other industry data sets.
  • Integrated Test Call & CDR Analysis: A New Tool in the Fight Against SIM Box & OTT Bypass Fraud interview with Kenneth Mouton — Why not combine the virtues of FMS CDR analysis and test call generators to create a single integrated tool for bypass fraud control?  The benefits of that idea, a tutorial on test call systems in SIM box detection, and OTT bypass via mobile services like VIBER are all discussed in this interview.
  • White Paper: How to Defend Your Network Against the New SIM Server Threat by Dan Baker — SIM box bypass is a very stubborn fraud problem: fraudsters are succeeding despite carriers‘ best efforts to defeat the fraud.  This white paper explains the impact of SIM Servers as a powerful stealth weapon of the fraudsters.  In turn, the paper discusses new technologies and strategies that can defeat the more sophisticated types of SIM box fraud emerging.
  • Intelligent Routing: The Case for Blocking IRSF Fraud at the SIP Session Border Controller interview with Jim Dalton — A bad fraud event can be a huge loss, especially to OTT players who provide a VoIP service.  In this interview, you’ll learn about an anti-fraud solution that works in concert with  intelligent routing.
  • A Privacy-Enabled Data Exchange that Expands Analytics Uses in Fraud, Credit Risk and Beyond interview with Michelle Wheeler — Analytics data today is managed in a privacy-negligent way.  This interview discusses an ingenious privacy and analytics exchange that allows telecoms, banks, and money lenders to trade fraud, credit risk and other data with each other in complete confidence and control.
  • From Rules Design to Adaptive Learning Systems in Telecom Fraud Control interview with Shankar Palaniandy — Adaptive and behaviorial learning systems are at the forefront of R&D in telecom fraud management systems.  Here an expert developer explains their usefulness in use cases such as IRSF detection, subscription fraud, application fraud, and voice biometrics.
  • Protecting 900+ MVNOs around the Globe from IRSF Fraud Pirates interview with Colin Yates — Telecom fraudsters are seeking a new, more vulnerable path to riches.  Their target: 900+ MVNOs around the globe who generally own no mobile networks, but sell mobile service virtually.  This interview with a fraud control expert explains what steps MVNOs must take to protect themselves from IRSF fraud.
  • Insider Fraud: How to Create an Anti-Fraud Culture in Your Telecom Organization interview with Mark Yelland — Thirteen years after the WorldCom scandal, experts generally agree that insider fraud remains a massive problem in telecom.  In this article you’ll learn the outlines of building a program to instill an anti-fund culture at your telecoms organization.
  • IRSF Protection: Software that Blocks Telecom Fraud at the Enterprise PBX interview with Roger Ansin — The richest criminal path to International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF) goes through the enterprise PBX.  Hijacking the PBX has cost businesses and telecoms countless billions of dollars in the past 15 years.  In this interview you’ll learn about this industry challenge and an affordable and proven tool that blocks IRSF at the enterprise.
  • Combating SIM Box Fraud: Network Protocol Analysis to the Revenue Rescue interview with Lex Wilkinson — International call bypass is fraud perpetrated through SIM boxes equipped with dozens to hundreds of SIM cards that disguise international calls as local domestic phone calls.  This article give a backgrounder on SIM box detection techniques and talks about a new, rapid-detection technology based on network protocol analysis.
  • Making the Retail Operator Case for Anti-Fraud Protection via Wholesalers interview with Jan Dingenouts — Small retail operators are highly vulnerable to fraud, so enlisting the anti-fraud assistance of wholesalers is a great idea.  This interview explains useful negoiating tactics for retail operators and shows how wholesalers can lend support and grow their business at the same time.
  • A Wholesaler’s Fraud Prevention Creed: If You Lose the Trust, You Lose the Traffic interview with Robert Benlolo — Large wholesalers play a major role in keeping a lid on international telecom fraud.  In this interview, a wholesale voice and fraud management expert explains the role of its vendor systems and multi-threaded internal processes in protecting customers from fraud losses and shady wholesale suppliers.
  • Telecom Fraud & Credit Protection: A Desperate Need in Unbanked Regions of the World interview with Luke Taylor — Mobile money plus related fraud and credit protection are crucial to the prosperity of developing nations where most “unbanked” people live.  This article discusses the special issues of the unbanked market as well as broader revenue protection challenges and opportunities.
  • The Grey Market in Prepaid: Tactics to Combat International Bypass via the SIM Box interview with Ahmad Nadeem Syed — SIM box fraud is one of the toughest revenue threats that telecoms face.  It is the redirection of international calls via the internet to drop illegal VoIP traffic onto mobile networks.  This interview with an expert RA and fraud manager provides a detailed overview of the threat scenario, current SIM box tactics, and some creative ideas for bringing this problem under control.
  • Why Deep Packet Inspection Analysis is Essential for Detecting IP Fraud by Dror Eshet — The IP and mobile broadband revolution is in full swing: time for fraud managers to totally rethink their existing controls and areas of exposure.  In this article, a fraud expert discusses the power of DPI technology and the key impact its analysis is having in an FM world where knowing what’s inside the packets is as important as figuring out where those IP packages are going.
  • Flexibility & Fraud Management Systems: 8 Questions for Luke Taylor of Neural Technologies interview with Luke Taylor — Meeting today’s fraud threats is not just about technology, but also the speed of threat detection, the scanning of data outliers, and being enormously flexible.  A leading fraud management vendor takes a bead on current FM issues and points to where software is headed.
  • Recruiting Smartphone Users as Partners in Telecom Fraud & Security Control by Tal Eisner — Premium Rate Service (PRS) fraud and spyware on a mobile phone can ruin an operator’s relationship with a  subscriber.  The attacker uses malware to automatically generate phone calls, SMSs and data sessions to high cost (premium) phone numbers.  This article discusses a new crowd sourcing mobile app that addresses the problem and helps operators better manage the threat.
  • Roaming — if Managed Correctly --  Can Be a Spark to Revenues by Brian Silvestri — Major analyst firms are predicting that roaming revenues will almost double in five years.  What’s more, roaming remains at the pivot point of Wireless Carrier strategy.  Drawing lessons from the incredible rise of AT&T’s Digital One Rate Plan, this article points to future challengtes and raises key  questions about how mobile operators will ultimately come to terms with smartphone market profitability, service quality, and data roaming.
  • What Makes Good Fraud Management Software?  9 Questions for Tal Eisner of cVidya interview with Tal Eisner — How do you know if the fraud management software you own or are considering is a good one?  That’s the starting point of a conversation Black Swan had with a product strategist of a leading FMS vendor.  The article discusses everything from maturity and customer collaboration... to PBX hacking and enabling the FMS to actually enhance the relationship a telco has with its enterprise customers.
  • International Revenue Share Fraud: Are We Winning the Battle Against Telecom Pirates? interview with Colin Yates — International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF) is one of the telecom industry’s most enduring problems.  Yet many of us have only a foggy notion of how IRSF works and how operators around the globe are coping with the issue. This interview covers the bases: the origins of IRSF, typical fraud scenarios, efforts to get international cooperation on the issue, and the future outlook of IRSF.
  • Fraud Management at Kyivstar in Ukraine interview with Anton Pivala — Kyivstar from Ukraine is a leading mobile operator in both  voice service quality and consumer value.  This case study gives details on Kyivstar’s fraud control program, reveals some of the unique operator challenges faced in Eastern Europe, and explains how Kyivstar is successfully winning the battle against  IRSF and SIMbox fraud.
  • Converging Criminal and Technical Intelligence: Secret to Combating the Explosion in Telecom Fraud and Security Threats interview with Mark Johnson — A fraud and security expert gives a big picture talk on why industry convergence is driving the need for a broader “revenue risk intelligence.”  His prescription?  Yes, telecoms surely need to excel in technical  infrastructure such as traffic usage data, IP intrusion appliances, and physical barriers.  But just as important is the need to pair that knowledge with the real-life lessons of fighting criminals in general.
  • Gratifying Ghana: Why Listening to Operators Trumps Vendor Technology and Size interview with Ludvig Lindqvist — The value of technically excellent software is negated if the solution is not implemented right.  This article makes a strong case that vendors need to focus on first things first — get in full synch with a service provider’s business, capabilities and unique needs before you recommend or implement any software.  Topics discussed include: the benefits of retaining in-house expertise, implementation challenges in Africa, and the meaning of “thorough engagement” with the client.
  • Roaming Fraud: The Importance of Real-Time Data Exchange and Analysis interview with James Stewart — The Near Real Time Roaming Data Exchange (NRTRDE) is a GSM standard allowing operators to gain fast access to the roaming records of service providers half way around the world.  The article explains how 65 carriers are using this data to combat fraud through a service bureau.  Learn about the dangers of international roaming fraud and the value a roaming service bureau brings to the table.
  • Is the M2M Device in Your Refrigerator a Telecom Fraud Threat? interview with Simon Collins — Machine to machine (M2M) technology is being applied in hundreds of monitoring apps, such as smart metering and health diagnosis.  It’s even being used to monitor driving patterns tied to auto insurance rates.  But this article shows the serious M2M fraud and security threat that stem from the theft of the SIM/USIM device used in every M2M device.  The article discusses the RA and fraud strategies operators need to employ to manage the risks that will come from wider M2M deployments.
  • “Fraud Is a Wind that Always Blows” and Other Wisdom From a 28-Year Old Software Firm interview with Gary Beck — Here’s the amazing story of how Beck Computers was pulled out of a Tier 1 account only to be brought back in a few months later.  The article explores software vendor service and support challenges, real-time computing requirements, advanced fraud management functions, and ways to educate management on the value an FMS investment.
  • Insider Fraud: Detecting Criminal Activity in the Telecom Sales Process interview with Tal Eisner — One of the biggest problems telecoms now face is fraud done inside their offices, dealer stores and firewalls.  This type of fraud is especially dangerous because it’s performed by people fully authorized to transact for the company.  The story dicusses the major causes of insider fraud, presents a case study, and explains basic techniques that software uses to detect insider fraud.
  • Fraud & Credit Risk Software: Setting the Client Free to Innovate interview with Luke Taylor — Not every operator wants the freedom to configure its own fraud management solution, but certain providers wouldn‘t live without such a “framework” approach .  This article discusses: the reasons why operator choose this strategy as it covers many other fraud and credit software implementation issues.
  • Why Selling to Business Customers Makes You a High Risk Target for Fraud by David West — There’s a saying in the fraud business: “It’s not a question of whether you’ll be hit by fraud — only when, how bad, and from which direction.“  Citing four recent cases where operators were hit by fraud, this article explains why investing in a fraud soluiont — and keeping up-to-date — are so critical.  The article gives several examples of vulnerability points that fraudsters commonly exploit.