Convergence Plus
Interview
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
about us
Responses from Rajdip Gupta, Founder & CEO, Routesms Solutions Limited.

By SJ Singh

Rajdip GuptaCompany vision and the strategy it intends to follow to achieve its vision.

Routesms was founded in 2004 at a time when the mobile messaging business was just beginning to get traction. Today, after 11 years, the company is still passionate about messaging and has a significant advantage in that sector. It has achieved a revenue growth (CAGR) of 48% in the last 5 years. Today it has 18,000 customers, 250 people at 10 offices in 6 countries including Canada, Congo, India, Nigeria, UAE and the UK. The company’s vision was always to help smoothen communication, especially business, in the ever changing technology landscape.

Today, it has 2 key lines of business namely Mobile Messaging & Voice Services. In the mobile messaging space, it routes a massive 1.9 billion messages a month on its homegrown technologies worldwide. It has 155 mobile operators that are Global Direct Connect Partners. Here, Routesms’ key strategy is

a) To ensure that that we increase the number of Global Direct Connect Partners to ensure superior delivery rates globally.
b) To increase our global presence especially in Latin America, Africa and South East Asia.
c) To launch innovative products and applications

Please share the key focus areas for Routesms? New product offerings/business solutions?

Routesms has been growing at 48% CAGR since the last 5 years. We want to continue that momentum by ensuring we are getting in front of clients globally and deepening our relationship with mobile operators through hubbing, direct connect agreements and other innovative offerings.

Two offerings that we launched recently are Routesms Firewall & Cloud Messaging Platform.

Routesms Firewall helps mobile operators to filter incoming traffic coming, block spam and charge carriage fees whenever applicable. This is a huge hit in emerging economies.

Routesms Cloud Messaging platform acts an aggregator by receiving messages from various Users, using the different types of interfaces supported (SOAP, Desktop, Web Client and HTTP) and then processes these messages and forwards them to the destination .

We will soon launch updates to both these products and announce other products as well.

What are the key factors that have contributed to the success of the company?

We credit the success of the company to our team of 250 people who make things happen. Our key managerial team has been with the company for over 8 years. Almost 40% of the team has a tech background. We have built our technologies in house, therefore have greater control over our systems. Routesms has also spent many years into building deeper tech relationships with mobile operators.

A combination of this helps us achieve Least Cost Routing (LCR) of SMS delivery and Very high delivery success rates. Needless to say, the growth in the mobile phone market itself is a huge factor for our success. SMS is the only messaging technology that is ubiquitous, reliable and doesn’t depend on the subscriber having data connectivity. This has made it the preferred messaging technology for businesses.

How do you differentiate your company from the other players operating in the same segment?

There are number of things are differentiates us from our competitors. Firstly, we are a Technology Company. Routesms has built its own technologies and tech infrastructure in the messaging space – SMSCs, SMS Firewall, SMPP platforms, HLR Lookup etc. This gives us greater control over everything. Operators and enterprise are offered the use of services built on our technology either through our panels our through APIs. Secondly, we are the only GSMA accredited open HUB connectivity solution provider in India. This authorizes Routesms to handle not only A2P (Application to Peer) but also P2P (peer to peer) traffic for enterprises and mobile operators.
Third, we have a wide coverage and deep relationships- 115 Global Direct Connects with mobile operators, offices in 6 countries and have 8 SMSCs hosted across the world.

In the voice business, we have a state of the art Odine platform which is an operator grade hardware and software. It has capacity of more than 400 million minutes per month. We are already processing about 30 million minutes per month and expect to take that to 300 million minutes/month. We are confident about our platform and technology team looking to reach 100% growth in voice one year down the line.

How do you see the industry developing in the future? Upcoming trends?

Global SMS traffic is expected to increase from 9.3 tn in the year 2013 to 12.0 tn in the year 2017, growing at a CAGR of 6.6%. Aiding this growth are applications such as Alerts and notifications, One Time Password, Transaction confirmation, Reminders, Requests (user name/ password), Brand building and promotional activities, Customer Relationship management, Informative, Remote system monitoring and other such uses.

We see this growth continuing for the foreseeable future. In the coming years India, China and Africa will be the highest A2P (application to peer) volume generating countries due to the high population. 70% of all mobile users will come from these 3 regions.
The industry will focus more on the enterprise segment; Banks and E-commerce being the highest contributors of the A2P SMS traffic.

Available opportunities and roadblocks that impact this sector?

By 2017, SMS traffic is expected to reach 12 trillion messages per annum, up from 8.3 billion in 2012. Revenues are expected to be in the vicinity of $192 billion per annum in 2017 – up from $157.6 billion in 2012. There is a huge opportunity in the A2P segment, especially in Enterprise business. OTT player, like Facebook, Wechat and Viber, will also use more A2P SMS for OTP & other activity related alerts. Since the numbers of user for OTT are increasing day by day, there will be more number of A2P SMSes to send.

As far as roadblocks are concerned, we do see price variation in SMS charges in the same country as a deterrent. In a country, like Kenya, for example, all the operators there have different pricing slabs ranging from very high and very low. For aggregators, such a situation makes it difficult to make any kind of monthly commitment to operators. Operators must move to having a common pricing structure in a single country.

Operators have now started realizing that A2P will be the biggest revenue generator and by putting a filter in their system they are blocking off SMSes delivered from a web application/internet. Some operators are planning their strategy well but some are failing to do so. Setting up proper filters and creating an ability to charge for routing traffic is a win-win opportunity for both Aggregators and Operators.

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