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Top Priorities for Mobile Operators in 2023

If there is one certainty in 2023, it is that the economic turbulence felt in 2022 will carry on into the New Year. So, a top priority for operators in 2023 will be performance improvement, specifically improving profitability. Speedy return on investment drives purchasing decisions. In a world of uncertain growth, increasing cost to service debt, and jittery customers, low-risk/high-reward opportunities can be hard to find. But there are a few and I’ll describe them here.

1. Plug the hole in the text messaging revenue bucket

Text Messaging, and in particular application-to-person (A2P) messaging has proven to be a golden goose. A2P messaging has grown to account for as much as 5% of total operator revenues with little or no investment on the part of the operator, and some estimate that enterprise use of A2P could be worth US $64.24 billion in 2028. But research shows that about 50% of internationally originated traffic can be processed through incorrectly charged or so-called “grey routes”. It’s a hole in the revenue bucket, but is easy to plug and generates a rapid ROI with our SMS Firewalls and managed threat intelligence services.

2. Time to block voice fraud

It’s a similar story with voice protection. Fraud costs telecom operators 5% of total revenues, an estimated $35 billion in 2020. The single biggest fraud class is on voice calls and the most significant category is so-called “Wangiri calls” which accounts for a market loss of $2- 3 billion in global revenues.

At Enea AdaptiveMobile Security, we have leveraged the power and agility of our Network Protection Platform (NPP) solution to mitigate voice fraud head-on. We are working closely with each customer to understand their unique problems. We then deploy bespoke solutions to block the routes to voice fraud, and the savings fall straight to the bottom line.

3. Secure vulnerabilities in private 5G interconnects

At last, after many years, 5G is starting to make commercial sense thanks to a hybrid of public and private networks. The private network business case has been supported by revenues from 5G customer traffic. For example, an airport can deploy a private 5G network to improve baggage handling, security processing, aircraft servicing and turnaround.

To supplement revenues and increase return on investment, the private network can carry traffic from the public network’s customers through wholesale interconnect agreements. But that interconnect point needs to be secured and made safe so as not to expose the core processes to attack. There are many models for such interworking between networks and they all need protection which can be provided through the Enea AdaptiveMobile Security Unified 5G Network Protection Platform, which encompasses Enhanced Security Edge Protection Proxy (eSEPP), Enhanced Service Communication Proxy (eSCP) and Vertical API Protector.

4. Tightening security for critical communication infrastructure

This brings me neatly to – last but not least – National Critical Infrastructure (NCI). The functioning of an economy and society depends on communications networks. Cyber battles targeting critical infrastructure could intensify. As the value of connectivity and data increases, the more it becomes an attractive target for bad actors.

The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) has highlighted that communication networks are frequently the targets of attacks. In my experience, interconnection points between networks are attractive to bad actors.
Regulators are partnering with communications licensees to describe what good security looks like. I believe operators will welcome this move to justify and support the security spend, and in 2023 it will help enhance resilience and cybersecurity maturity domains within the Telco environment at a time when budgets are tightening and costs increasing due to the macro-economic environment we live in today.

We invite MNOs to contact us at Enea AdaptiveMobile Security for a security analysis of your mobile network to ensure it is protected against cyberattacks.

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