Authentication through Person-to-Application (P2A) messaging offers distinctive advantages in the realm of user-initiated SMS interactions with applications. In contrast to Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging, P2A involves the end-user initiating communication by sending an SMS to business-registered numbers, such as short codes or long codes. This process can either engage the user directly or be triggered by applications running on the device, sending messages in the background without requiring user intervention.

Various businesses, including notable examples like Apple for iMessage or Facetime, employ P2A SMS for Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) due to specific advantages. The primary benefits of this channel over alternative 2FA methods include:

  1. Global Reach: P2A SMS harnesses the widespread accessibility of the SMS channel, enabling businesses to connect with users on a global scale.
  2. Enhanced Security: Adopting a passwordless format, P2A SMS ensures robust user protection during the authentication process.
  3. Frictionless Experience: It facilitates optimized conversion by supporting “zero-click” processes, where authentication seamlessly occurs in the background.
Current Challenges and Future Prospects

Presently, operators grapple with two key challenges related to P2A SMS. The first challenge arises from unnoticed artificial traffic fraud, leading to elevated wholesale costs. This scenario unfolds through hacking, malware attacks, or incentivized apps that prompt mobile users to send bulk SMS to predefined numbers. As a consequence, operators incur higher wholesale costs, redirecting funds to fraudsters behind the illegitimate traffic.

The second challenge involves the absence of an official product for P2A SMS, causing multiple businesses to leverage it for 2FA without an imposed rate. In this scenario, instead of generating revenue for providing authentication, the originating network, where the user resides, incurs costs to verify the user. To address these challenges, a comprehensive solution is needed to minimize fraud and establish a fair revenue model for operators in the P2A SMS authentication space.