We love our acronyms, especially when it involves SMS Messaging.
P2P, P2A & A2P SMS are siblings with similar characteristics, but each with its own distinctive features and uses.
Here, we break them down and find out what the future holds for each of them.
P2P Messaging = Person-to-Person Messaging
P2P Messaging is the process of exchanging mobile messages between mobile users via their SIM card. This made up the bulk of traffic for the traditional SMS ecosystem from mobile operators over the last 20 years.
32% of international Mobile Network Operators (MNO) have seen a reduction in P2P traffic over the last 12 months, leading to articles announcing the death of SMS and being replaced by over-the-top (OTT) services such as such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Tango, Kik, Viber and WeChat.
A2P Messaging = Application-to-Person Messaging
It is the process of sending mobile messages from an application to a mobile user. Known as enterprise or professional SMS, A2P communication is initiated from a business application, and not an individual’s mobile phone.
It is touted as the future of SMS with newfound possibilities.
Juniper Research estimates that A2P Messaging will overtake P2P Messaging by 2016, being worth more than $70bn. Over 2.19 trillion messages will also be transacted globally by 2018, a 56% increase from 2013.
It has been associated with spam in the past but the mobile landscape has evolved to integrate them with digital services. Consumers are also better protected by a range of acts including the ECT, CPA and POPI.
P2A Messaging = Person-to-Application Messaging
It is the process of sending messages from a mobile user to an application and is the exact opposite of A2P and provides a 2 way communication feedback when used with together with A2P messaging.
It involves the initiation or continuation of interaction from a user with a business or company by sending an SMS to an application.
Main methods that enable P2A Messaging are virtual long numbers and short codes, giving mobile subscribers a number they can use to initiate or respond to a P2A Messaging interaction.
When a consumer wants some information or to participate in an activity, she or he would send an SMS to a number which in turn replies back automatically. We have topped up phone credits with local telecommunications operators via P2A Messaging, and is at times a simpler alternative to in-app purchases.
The fears of the decline in SMS use are largely due to the drop in traditional P2P Messaging usage, but the rise of P2A/A2P traffic and revenues continue to give new life to SMS and allow individuals to easily interact with brands, companies and service providers via text messaging while providing a quick and trusted route for communication.
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