Flash Calling

Flash Calling: The cheaper, faster alternative to SMS verification

Jass Kamra

Senior Product Owner, Symbio Connect

February 29, 2024

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an integral part of digital life. Whether you’re shopping online, paying a bill, or logging into Facebook – chances are you’ll receive a security code via SMS. But, as the costs of sending SMS have surged, a new alternative has emerged: Flash Call verification.

A2P messaging is a growth market

Text messages generated by brands or software, such as SMS marketing or SMS verification codes, are known in the industry as Application to Person (A2P) messages.  

Globally, the volume of A2P messages is counted in the Trillions per annum. Today, A2P SMS makes up approximately one third of global SMS traffic – and is forecast to become almost 50% by 2028.  

For telecom operators, A2P SMS is also a higher-value, faster-growing market compared to Person-to-Person (P2P) messaging. In 2023, A2P overtook P2P SMS in terms of revenue for the first time, and that gap is expected to widen in the coming years.  

The problem: SMS rates are surging

As the demand for A2P has increased, so too have the costs. According to industry reports, the average cost to send an A2P SMS internationally has almost doubled since mid-2021.  

Added to this, stricter regulation of A2P SMS – such as spam filtering and dedicated short codes – means that it is necessary to identify and charge more for this type of traffic.  

Telcos pass these added costs onto wholesale customers and SMS platforms. In the US, for example, it is 500% more expensive to send A2P SMS compared to P2P messages.

While many global mobile operators have benefitted from this price rise, it comes at a huge cost for enterprise software providers.

The solution: Flash call verification

Flash Call verification allows users to authenticate their identity, quickly and securely, by using the phone number assigned to their mobile device. It works on any mobile device, anywhere in the world.

Flash Calling works by making a ‘missed’ call to the user's phone number. The call itself confirms that the number is operational, and the last few digits of the caller ID act as the security verification code.  

Many Android devices can detect this Flash Call and will complete verification automatically, with no need for the user to enter a code. So the friction of SMS verification disappears entirely.

For enterprise software or online service providers, enabling user verification via Flash Call is a fast and scalable way to reduce the cost of user authentication. According to some providers, the costs of Flash Calling can be up to 60% lower than sending an international A2P SMS.

Not just a flash (call) in the pan

Flash Calling is rapidly gaining market share for multi-factor authentication. In 2022, over 5 billion calls were used for authentication – and this is forecast to rise to almost 130 billion calls by 2026.

A2P SMS remains the industry standard and is well established in many enterprise workflows. But the costs and user friction are driving businesses to explore alternatives.

Flash Calling also has a place in user verification. This technology is already finding a market among digital platforms, and their CPaaS and CX software providers.

Expand your verification options

At Symbio, we see Flash Calling as a useful addition to the mix of tools and technologies for multi-factor authentication and customer communication.  

By pivoting to support both A2P SMS and Flash Calls, communication platforms and service providers are well placed to benefit from the growth in both these technologies.

Symbio supports wholesale A2P messaging in Australia and New Zealand, and can support Flash Calling traffic in 20 global destinations (with more to come).  

With Symbio, your international voice calls are routed only via dedicated, high capacity, pre-approved carrier routes. This high-quality routing ensures that short duration traffic is accepted as legitimate - and will not be mistaken for spam or robocalls.

If you are a CPaaS or CX platform vendor, or large-scale digital service, we can work with you to develop a voice and SMS verification solution localised for your Asia-Pacific customers.  

Enable Voice and A2P SMS Verification

Support both Flash Calling and A2P SMS user verification with Symbio

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