“When fraud is not addressed, it can hurt profitability, viability for Carrier”: i3forum

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TelecomDrive.com | Spotlight on Telecom Fraud

When it comes to addressing telecoms fraud – i3forum is spearheading an initiative towards becoming an industry voice and also listening to the Voice of the Carrier ecosystem from Vendors and Service Providers through to Enterprises, in a bid to best protect commercial losses.

In a discussion with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com – Katia Gonzalez, Chair of the Fight Against Fraud Workgroup, i3forum describes why it is important to address this issue now.

What are the key focus areas of this Code of Conduct to combat Voice fraud?

The ultimate purpose of the Code of Conduct is to prevent fraudsters profiting from criminal activity and bring a lasting impact on the Carrier ecosystem. It requires a joint effort and we’re proud to be working alongside the ITW Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF) with the Code to help Carriers across the entire industry protect and grow their businesses.

We are focusing on industrywide collaboration. When different players from across the community including OTTs, mobile and fixed line operators come together, the entire industry can benefit from viable fraud solutions. We want to give them the steps they need to protect their businesses and prevent fraudsters from profiting from criminal activity.

We truly understand the need for collaboration in the wholesale arena and we’ve been working on it for some time now. On a daily basis, the ‘Fight Against Fraud’ workgroup is communicating and collaborating to combat growing fraud issues. It works together to ensure the profitability of not just their business but for Voice businesses around the world, complimenting the security measures that operators and OTTs implement. As an example, we’ve focused on dispute handling within the Carrier ecosystem as a way to negate revenues to fraudsters, an element that is highly relevant in today’s market.

There’s real value in having an industry approach to fighting fraud like the Code of Conduct. We really see the importance of having processes that can be streamlined across the entire industry.

How big is this problem? What are its financial and customer experiential implications?

When fraud hits, it impacts the entire Carrier ecosystem. So, it’s important we react fast. When fraud isn’t addressed, it can hurt profitability and even impact the viability of a Carrier’s business.

International telecoms fraud costs our industry an estimated $17 billion annually, according to the Communication Fraud Control Association (CFCA), and a significant part of this is Voice fraud.

Other than the pure and objective financial impact there is an impact that’s not so easy to measure. That’s customer perception and satisfaction.

Consumers experience Voice fraud through spam calls that either have no one on the line or playback a recorded voice. What might only be a nuisance to them and their satisfaction is actually costing the telecoms industry financially and causing friction for our customers and partners. It’s a lose-lose situation.

At i3forum, we are listening to the Voice of the Carrier ecosystem from Vendors and Service Providers through to Enterprises, in a bid to best protect commercial losses. Every player in our industry is affected by fraud directly or indirectly and that is why we must take action together to limit its impact on our industry.

By taking action we can save our businesses, customers and partners millions that can be lost to fraudsters.

How can this issue be solved for Carriers and telecoms?

i3forum and GLF initiatives show a disruptive approach to tackling fraud that deviates from the current way the industry works. The Code of Conduct is a simple way for the industry to get involved and combat fraud. It gives our industry a common goal.

Across the global Carrier ecosystem, we must agree to fight fraud and take a new approach that will have a lasting impact on our industry. Otherwise, we face an international wholesale market where fraud is a continued barrier to the growth and success of our businesses.

Each organization that signs the Code of Conduct is taking action that will benefit the entire Carrier ecosystem. It shows their commitment to supporting the industry in tackling fraud.

By working together, we can stop fraud in the wholesale telecoms industry. Collaboration is the key to being effective in the fight against fraud. It’s this collaboration that lies at the heart of the i3forum’s work.

What kind of challenges lie ahead on this journey to address these issues?

The i3forum have made significant progress in defining fraud and identifying best practices in dealing with cases of fraud but these need to be adopted more widely across the industry.

Adoption really is the key to success, but the challenge is that this will take time.

The Code provides a great starting point for fighting Voice fraud. It’s solving one of the industry’s most pressing challenges and adds a final protection layer to the security measures that operators deploy on their networks. It sets out what actions every Carrier should take to ensure fraud is eliminated in the industry. We expect that some time will be needed to reach a significant adoption rate but together we can have a lasting impact on the Carrier ecosystem.

The collaboration from players on the Code of Conduct so far will encourage the adoption of best practice across the ecosystem.

What kind of support do you need or require from the government agencies in order to better address this?

Ideally, we would need support from governmental agencies to make sure and encourage operators to establish a process and follow it.

Ultimately, it’s up to the Carriers to work together with whoever will stand up and collaborate respectfully of each others business to fight fraud. Across the entire ecosystem which includes governments and regulators, we have to work together to limit the damage being done by fraud and to negatively impact fraudsters from any possible angle.

What are the key geographies you are addressing for this today and what are your plans to increase awareness amongst the global telecoms space?

i3forum brings the international Carrier ecosystem together to enable and accelerate transformation. Our members are working together to solve the challenges that face our industry and deliver value across the entire ecosystem.

Most of the members are based in the EU or North America. We would be glad to have other Carriers from around the world join us.

There are no limits on who can become a member. Any organization with international wholesale Carrier business that believes in collaboration, sharing and having a positive impact on the Carrier ecosystem can join the i3forum.

Collaboration from players from around the world would only help to enrich the i3forum’s activities and help the Code of Conduct initiative gain increased reach.


Zia Askari
Zia Askari works as the Editor for TelecomDrive.com and carries over 18 years of experience in technology writing, branding, communications and digital marketing. Over these years, Zia has worked with Cyber Media and Grey Head on the content side and RAD Data Communications, Huawei Telecommunications and Shyam Networks on the branding and marketing side.