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In a recent webinar, Nick Millward, MEF Advisor, is joined by netnumber’s Marco Lafrentz, VP of Business & Market Development, and Catalin Badea, VP of Product Management, to discuss ways to improve routing efficiency and effectiveness in today’s telecommunications ecosystem. Here are Marco and Catalin’s key takeaways from the discussion.

Routing, in its most basic form, is about making decisions regarding the traffic flow of voice and text calls. While many factors—such as delivery time, throughputs, call quality, and more—have long been part of the routing equation, today’s telecom carriers face an increasingly complex routing environment as regulatory mandates, fraud prevention, and customer trust play a major role in successful routing.

“In today’s ecosystem, routing has become even more challenging because carriers have to make all these decisions embedded into the frameworks of legal compliance, fraud prevention and ultimately trust,” said Lafrentz. “These are elements that weren’t prevalent even three years ago.” As fraud has spiked and regulations have increased, Lafrentz said these new factors have assumed increasing importance and made routing decisions more difficult.

Our ecosystem is facing increasing fraud through impersonation attempts, subscriber attacks and other methods as well as a tightening regulatory framework… every service provider wants to carry as few malicious communications as possible. It affects their reputation.”

In light of these growing complexities, Badea said the need for quality phone number data has become even more critically important.

“You cannot just manage traffic on the A&B number of the communication transaction alone,” said Lafrentz. “You need phone number data on top of that. You require additional insights.”

One of the global trends, for instance, is that legal requirements surrounding fraud prevention have become part of day-to-day routing decisions. These mandates, including blocking of invalid phone numbers, DNO lists, and registration of sender, service provider and content templates, require carriers to incorporate many more factors into routing decisions or risk being non-compliant. “To do this, you need very good data,” said Badea.

Why Quality Data is Important

The better the data you can access, the better your routing decisions are going to be. “Without it, you cannot make informed decisions and will end up with bad guesses that will ultimately lead to poor service quality or impacts on profitability,” said Lafrentz. “Put simply, routing engines will be lost if they aren’t paired with access to data that is accurate, complete and reliable.”

But data fragmentation can lead to problems.

As Badea notes, a multitude of data exists in the mobile ecosystem, but the challenge is gaining immediate access to that data due to the disjointed system. “Historically services in the telecom ecosystem evolved in different ways with different formats and models. Many databases have been developed over time. This can make it really tedious for any service provider, carriers in particular, to integrate all this data.”

At netnumber, a leading provider of phone number intelligence data, the data is procured, integrated and normalized and then provided to customers in a unified contextual way, thereby solving the fragmented data problem. “Our customers don’t have to look at three, four, five, or seven different places. Just give us the number, and in a single API response, you’re going to have all the information about that phone number that exists,” Badea said.

Finding a Solution

Lafrentz said the importance of data quality can’t be overstated in these days of growing fraud.

“Our ecosystem is facing increasing fraud through impersonation attempts, subscriber attacks and other methods as well as a tightening regulatory framework,” he said “Every service provider wants to carry as few malicious communications as possible. It affects their reputation.”

Lafrentz and Badea discussed the Number Check solution offered by netnumber, as an important resource for combatting fraud. “It’s a real- time number verification service,” said Badea. “With any number in the world, Number Check uses a confidence index that evaluates the likelihood of a number being valid, invalid or fraudulent.”

Using a lookup of all available network data points and signals in real time (including phone number behavioural patterns and number standardization and hygiene), Number Check enables customers to make informed decisions about how – or if – they want to interact with each phone number. “Number Check gives customers the information they need, when they need it, to make the best decision about the number’s path,” Badea said. “The resulting clarity can improve efficiency, reliability, user experience and risk mitigation for participants throughout the mobile ecosystem.”

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