Its simple—because Vodafone says so. When Nexmo attempts to deliver an SMS to a Vodafone handset, we have to first reach Vodafone’s network. They then do the ‘last mile’ and deliver to the handset wherever it might be.
Vodafone has a couple of entry points into their network. Firstly, you can reach the network via the Global Signaling network. This network connects operators and allows their networks to talk to each other (when people go roaming for example) and they exchange SMS between them through this network. Typically operators don’t charge each other within this network for SMS as the balance of traffic between two networks is likely to be balanced (SMS is conversational after all).
The second entry point is their dedicated Application-to-Person (A2P) portal. Here they do charge a price for SMS delivery as until now at least most A2P messages are one way, usually out to the subscriber from an enterprise.
Now to the matter at hand. Until now, Vodafone has allowed A2P messages through both entry points. Hence Nexmo only pays for access to the signaling network – Vodafone doesn’t actually receive any revenue here. Now, they have decided that all A2P traffic should be sent through their A2P gateway, hence we do need to pay Vodafone a termination fee, which is higher than previously was paid through the signaling network.
You may ask if Person-to-Person (P2P) traffic can still be sent through the signaling network. The answer is yes, but, Vodafone defines P2P as SMS exchanged between two regular subscribers. P2P traffic between an enterprise and one of their customers is still considered A2P. Apps running over-the-top services (similar to WhatsApp or Skype-out) would still be considered as an A2P customer unless they become mobile operators.
Is there a way around this? Probably. Backdoors into networks do exist, but with these you can never be certain of quality and uptime.
For this reason Nexmo is offering the right connection to ensure our clients are able to continue to successfully deliver messages to Vodafone subscribers. O2 Ireland has been enforcing this segregation for some time now. In practice, the price to send messages to Vodafone Ireland has increased by 165%. But in order to keep it simple, Nexmo offers a flat price across all networks, hence why our price increase is limited to 66%.
More change is on the way as more and more operators decide to separate A2P and P2P into separate entry points. Vodafone Australia is also planning to do the same. Check back to our blog for more updates.